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A rather run of the mill coming of age story with the focus being losing one’s virginity.
Review (with Spoilers)
Between Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen, it is hard to argue that there isn’t some sort of draw to this movie. After all, they are playing two best friends in New York having their last summer together before college. Which in itself is a nice coming of age story. But then with the added mix of them trying to lose their virginity, it does make you wonder if this film is going to end up insightful or relatable, or if perhaps that angle will solely be used to get boys interested in the film.
Characters & Story
In the suburbs of New York City, you’ll find two best friends: the adventurous Gerry (Elizabeth Olsen), and her more timid friend Lily (Dakota Fanning). They have been friends for quite a while and have a strong bond, but with college around the corner, and Lily leaving for Yale, they try to make this summer one to remember. How you may ask? Well, with it being the summer they both lose their virginity.
Enter David (Boyd Holbrook). A boy who Gerry is head over heels for on first sight but, unfortunately for her, his focus is on Lily. Leading to the question: can one boy, a complete stranger, possibly ruin a multi-year friendship just because he is hot, mysterious, and willing to be in the company of both of them?
In the summer time a lot of coming of age films are released, and perhaps what makes this one a tad different is that the focus is on two girls trying to grow up and become their sense of what mature is. This is opposed to the usually coming of age films about boys, much less awkward boys, who find some girl, who is usually out of their league, and he finds a way to win her over with his charm. With this film, though, the girls are given not just the focus, but aspirations for once. Gerry wants to be a musician, and while I didn’t catch what Lily wanted to do at Yale, at the very least we learned she wanted to do more than lose her virginity over the summer.
And when it comes to the story as a whole, I felt that it made for something entertaining to watch. Both Fanning and Olsen make appealing leads, and you can understand their lust for Holbrook who makes a good “I’m troubled and mysterious” love interest. Plus, I must say I did like the side stories dealing with both Lily and Gerry’s families. They were good enough to provide us with insight to understand why Lily and Gerry were the way they are without the parent’s drama starting to compete with the main story.
I will say, though, I hate the fact there was a love triangle in the film. Also, I wasn’t a fan of director/ writer Naomi Foner romanticizing David’s stalking into a cute love story. I mean, think of how off-putting it would be if some guy tries to get your attention by pasting photos of you walking away from him around a neighborhood, and then not even asking for your phone number, but instead your address. Then, to make matters stranger, you can see Lily/ Fanning is uncomfortable with this dude and yet gives him a chance. Something which, to me anyway, may send the wrong message since usually a girl’s intuition when it comes to a guy making her uncomfortable is right.
Overall: TV Viewing
If you don’t over analyze the film, you’ll likely love it. It has the general feel of most coming of age films, with a nice twist with having female leads. However, I do feel slightly that even with the gender switch when it comes to who is the lead, it has the same problem most coming of age films have. The girl, or rather girls, are a bit too dependent on the guy when it comes to them evolving. Which, in all honesty, I don’t think neither Gerry nor Lily do in the film, evolve that is. If anything, they both fawn over David, as he seemingly plays with both, leading to the girls fighting and then making up. Which I realize is a major spoiler, but at the same time, it is a story done so much that even considering that a spoiler would mean you haven’t seen a coming of age film, much less a romance film, ever.