Outside of a short time gap, “Banana Split” is an exploration of female intimacy in both sisterhood and friendships.
|Screenplay By||Hannah Marks, Joey Power|
|Date Released (Digital)||3/27/2020|
|Genre(s)||Comedy, Romance, Young Adult|
|Duration||1 Hour, 23 Minutes|
|Ben||Luke Spencer Roberts|
This content contains pertinent spoilers.
It’s summer after senior year, and for April, it is a tumultuous time. Her boyfriend of over 2 years just ended their relationship and quickly moved on to some girl named Clara. On top of that, April is about to move across the country for college. Something April is dreading as she fears feeling lonelier than she already does. But, while at a party with two people who are hardly friends, but more than acquaintances, she runs into Clara, who extends an olive branch and gives her number. Leading to a very strange summer that April by no means could have predicted.
What Must Also Be Noted
- While Dylan Sprouse is in the movie, he isn’t a big-time major part of it. He’s big enough so that, if you wanted to watch to see him move his long hair, see his bare chest, or some very tame sexual suggestion, you’ll get what you want. However, his relationships to April and Clara aren’t built up to the point you could say he is getting some of the action his brother, Cole, has increasingly enjoyed in the romance genre.
April and Clara’s Relationship
For the majority of the film, we almost get that ideal female buddy comedy that increasingly tries to be done, but often feels like it tries too hard – especially when it comes to the young adult/ teen variety. But with “Banana Split” while the beginning for April and Clara’s relationship is a bit awkward, and you may feel there was an unnecessary conflict towards the end, the middle is what you wish was a bit more common. Granted, their bonding is partly over having sex with the same guy, but the jokes about how he grabs breasts, what he calls his penis, and even conversations that have nothing to do with Nick are what often feels missing in other films.
Which I say since “Banana Split” doesn’t seem geared to be the next “Superbad” or anything but itself. There is no crazy character who is a scene-stealer, outside maybe April’s little sister, or a bunch of vulgar jokes and situations. In a way, there seems to be enough trust in the leads to forego gimmicks, tropes, and just let them explore what it means to have an intimate relationship with another woman. One that, yes, may seem weird at first, but it is because we’ve grown used to the idea that intimacy between two people means romance has to follow.
And while the film focuses on one single summer, I’d say, in terms of intimacy and how the relationship develops, what we get in “Banana Split” is more authentic than what we often see. Since, unlike other films focused on the transition from teen to adult, “Banana Split” doesn’t use tragedy, mental or physical illness, or sex as a crutch. It relies on tapping into that anxiety, fear perhaps, of the expectation that turning 18 means you should have your life planned out. Despite, you know, just finally getting some realm of control over yourself.
On The Fence
April’s 13-year-old sister, Agnes, can fit the mold of that scene-stealer who could snatch the movie from the leads. Now, let it be noted, she doesn’t do anything over the top, it is more so the way she talks about Nick and to people, like her sister and Clara, that makes her a potential scene-stealer. However, I feel like there is a rein on Agnes, so she doesn’t eclipse the soul of the movie.
The Drama Which Happens Towards The End
All films follow the same structure of rise, fall, and some form of a conclusion. The problem is, when is that peak hit, the climax, and what causes it? Alongside that, there is the question of how to end it? When it comes to the conclusion, will the resolution feel rushed for a happy ending or one that could satisfy the audience, or could the fallout follow what could be expected from the average person?
One of the main issues we have with “Banana Split” is that its climax, it’s big conflict, it seems more so out of obligation than anything else. Mind you, April and Clara’s relationship was precarious from the start, but with the rise holding them working out those kinks, seeing things suddenly fall apart created moments you’d expect from other films.
Ultimately pushing the idea that, while the beginning and middle are where innovation and new ideas can be seen and done, endings may always be the real challenge in storytelling as there is so little wiggle room there.
Would Watch Again? – Worth Revisiting
Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)
“Banana Split” exceeds being something with potential, but does seem clipped at the knee once the climax hits. Yet, there is a need to recognize only so much can be done when you consider the elements of a story needed to make money. Which often are characters like Agnes, sex, tragedy, or something that leaves a lasting impression. For as much as it would be nice if the film could just deal with two girls creating a friendship, while one dates the other’s ex, that isn’t enough. There has to be drama, comedy, and talking everything out until there is a resolution is boring.
And despite the decision made to bring in what is required from nearly every film, “Banana Split” is still worth seeing.
The conflict in “Banana Split” stems from April and Clara agreeing that April won’t go to the last party with her graduating class since Clara is going with Nick. At first, April agrees, but then it evolves to her questioning why would she not go to the last party in which she’ll see most of the people she went to school with? Thus causing a rift that is only made worst by April texting Nick, “Happy Birthday.” A text that seemingly makes Nick nostalgic enough to break up with Clara and have closure with April about why they broke up.
However, they don’t get back together. Instead, Nick learns his best friend, Clara’s god-brother, Ben, made out with his ex, and they have a short fight. Then with Clara, after getting April fired, she later returns with an apology, and just like the boys, their tiff gets swept under the rug, and things go back to normal. In fact, Clara even says she loves April – hence her making the first move.
If this was a Netflix original movie, you could imagine a sequel being made to fit either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Perhaps leading to a storyline of Nick getting back with Clara and April, perhaps feeling betrayed, since she thinks they have a Sis Before D***s thing going, having to navigate how much has changed. Heck, maybe they could do an ultra sequel and go through the years which go by, and the strange staying power Clara and Nick could have. Thus creating this weird dynamic of two exes who are cordial because they love the same person, but one in a platonic way and the other in a sexual/romantic sense.
But this could just be me speaking on what I wished happened in this movie.