Cherry Tobacco – Review, Summary

The title card of Cherry Tobacco featuring Joosep putting tobacco into a pipe.
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Cherry Tobacco pursues the rarely trodden path of having a young woman and older man with feelings for each other, without feeling exploitative.


Directed By Andres Maimik, Katrin Maimik
Written By Andres Maimik, Katrin Maimik
Date Released (Video on Demand – Amazon & Vimeo) 12/20/2019
Genre(s) Romance, Young Adult
Made For Those Who Like Slow Burn Romances

Coming of Age Films

Noted Cast
Laura Maris Nõlvak
Egert Aap Salumets
Joosep Gert Raudsep
Merit Getter Meresmaa

Plot Summary/ Review

On the cusp of her 17th birthday, the disenchanted Laura tries to date a boy named Egert, goes on a trip with her friend Merit, but none of it really inspires excitement. However, Joosep, someone who is older, an alleged playboy, and a nature lover, he seems interesting. In fact, Joosep is very different from all that Laura is used to and this draws her to him. But, considering all he has in his life, despite his reputation, is he not only attracted to her but willing to cross the line?

Highlights

The Awkwardness

Unlike many films which have a young woman who has feelings for an older man, there isn’t this vibe that Laura is this fish out of water or Joosep this dashing and cool guy. Instead, the film acknowledges the awkwardness of the age difference. Not by constantly reminding us of the obvious, but allowing us to see how both recognize how weird their feelings are and the risks involved with pursuing them. Making it so you get a taboo romance which doesn’t lead you to be in utter shock and disgust, but has just enough tinge that what is going on isn’t necessarily kosher that it makes you wonder what will happen?

On The Fence

It’s A Slow Burner

Paired with the awkwardness noted above is that this film isn’t trying to pursue anything hot and heavy. Cherry Tobacco isn’t trying to sensationalize Laura or Joosep’s feelings into some wish-granting fantasy. Which, for some, may make this film feel slow and not as exciting as they want or expect. Yet, it is in taking their time we see the conflict for both in what they feel they want but aren’t sure if they really want to pursue.

Overall

Met Expectations

It actually exceeded them a bit for I always assume if there is a young woman interested in an older man, the situation is going to be exploitative, gross, and seem like someone wants to live vicariously through the actor. Cherry Tobacco doesn’t do that. Instead, it focuses on feelings that could develop into love rather than focus on lust or the imbalance in the characters’ power dynamic. Making it so you are greeted with a different take on a rather old tale.

Would Watch Again?

Like most films, it is a one and done production but definitely shows Katrin and Andres make a beautiful combination as writers and directors.

Rating: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Cherry Tobacco is for those who want to focus on the build-up to something romantic. Meaning, the longing glances, the conversations and moments which has someone you’d never look twice at suddenly on your radar. The things that most films rush through, especially if there is a clear age difference.

Hence the positive label. Cherry Tobacco rather be slow and steady, and craft a young adult romance about a young woman learning what she likes and loves than use her beauty to sell sex. If not allow someone to live vicariously through the older man. Instead, the journey is clearly about her, discovering who and what she likes, and keeping that tone consistent.

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