Archive for the ‘Coming Of Age’ Category

Another Swiss movie ! This time on Netflix! And it’s not too bad. Just aimed at a younger audience. The young adult ones.

It’s a coming of age story of an orthodox jewish student, who falls for a classmate. She seems to show a liking to him as well. But, of course, she’s not Jewish.

The nemesis in the story is the student’s mom, who’s extremely conservative and already arranged several meetings with potential Jewish girls to marry.

It’s a romcom. It has some funny moments. And it feels like a Jiddish / Jewish culture for beginners video.

Give it a shot if you want to see a Swiss comedy.

www.imdb.com/title/tt4766630

 

A nerdy teenager with few friends and a traumatic sexual self-awareness becomes an unlikely star in school when he starts giving (moral) sex advice to his fellow students for money. He gathers his advice from his mom, a neurotic sex therapist, and – truth be told – often helps the young couples with his tips.

There’s eight episodes of this new Netflix series and you can easily binge watch them. The series starts as a comedy, but gets more dramatic after a while. It’s probably aimed at teenagers, but the conversations about sex are quite explicit and there is nudity. Which is fine (if you know the actors are all twenty somethings), but a bit unusual for a high school dramedy. Another unusual thing is that it’s set in a school full of British speaking kids, but the atmosphere is very American. Research tells that it’s an homage of the creators to the high school comedies from the eighties. But it’s really just a cheap trick to make this a hit on the US market. It’s annoying. But it’s the only annoying part.

The characters are very British though. And there are some nice twists in the narration and the depiction of the individuals. It’s a multi cultural and multi sexual show, because it’s 2019 and students aren’t just white or straight anymore. The best friend of the main character is an openly gay, black crossdresser who gets bullied a lot, but learns how to own his being different. In one of the best scenes his reserved, careful immigrant dad warns him about the consequences of standing out and being different. Interrupted by a driver who wants them to move aside, he shouts at the guy. For the first time since his move to Britain he dared to shout at someone! He hugs his son (wearing a female African attire and lots of makeup) and thanks him for being so brave and being so confident.

The trailer may put you off. Yes, they do talk about sex all the time. But it’s a really good show. Even for adults.

www.imdb.com/title/tt7767422

Girl – **

Posted: November 6, 2018 in 2018, Coming Of Age, Drama, Flanders, France, LGBT themed, XX

Lara is a teenager with some serious issues. She wants to be a ballerina and is admitted to a ballet school, but lacks the experience of other girls in her class. She is also born in the body of a boy and is about to start a hormonal treatment to finally become a woman. These two ambitions are just too much for a sixteen year old. Becoming a ballerina is already very tough. Becoming a woman is even tougher! Doing both at the same time just isn’t particularly healthy.

Girl is an award winning box office surprise about a serious issue that’s getting more and more media attention. It’s a movie worth watching and it’s filmed really well. But it’s a challenge. You never really get to know the main character. It’s an emotionless being with an aloof smile that is hard to read. It’s interesting because this robotic performance is intentional. It’s like the director wants the audience to not understand the character at all. Halfway through the movie there is a medical specialist who literally tells the main character to stop hiding emotions and start showing them. The psychologist doesn’t seem to be able to reveal thoughts and feelings either. Nor does the father. Or the class mates. Or anybody. This is one mysterious character. Which is quite intriguing and unique. Plus: the camera just follows this main character from upclose.

However, because the character doesn’t give anything, you’re just left wondering. And then the appreciation of this movie all depends on how understanding you are willing to be when it comes to transgenders. It’s very easy to think: boy, just embrace your femininity, wait until you’re an adult to make drastic decision about changing your gender and focus on something else than becoming a ballerina. But that’s not really the point of the story. Girl is the kind of movie that leaves plenty of questions unanswered. Which is great in a time when movies seem to be over-explanatory. But some background info about the character would have been nice.

In recent news (end of 2018) Tanzania is hunting down all gay people and the American government plans to invalidate the existence of transgenders by making it only legal to be a man or a woman based on how you were born. And then there’s this movie, which only shows a little bit of incomprehension or disapproval. The father is super supportive. The doctors are doing their utmost to help with the transition. In school none of the boys have an issue with the fact that one of the girls they need to lift in ballet performances has a penis. The girls initially also don’t seem to mind at all. It’s confusing. The world does not accept transgenders as well as portrayed in the movie.

www.imdb.com/title/tt825455

Lady Bird – **

Posted: March 18, 2018 in 2017, Coming Of Age, USA, XX

This isn’t really a particularly well made movie. It’s a coming of age story without real surprises. With good acting, sure. But without a real story or message. It’s not directed that remarkably well either. Not sure what all the fuzz is about. There’s really nothing special about this story. The only reason to finish it, is to watch Saoirse Ronan be great as usual. Her performance is quite a joy to look at. Her character however is a confused 17-year-old. She’s attending a catholic school in Sacramento, but dreams of college on the East Coast. She ditches her best friend to chill with the popular girl in school. She wants to get a math degree, but sucks at math. She’s great at performing arts, but refuses to join the Easter play. Sigh. Maybe, if you’re a 17-year-old confused girl or the mother of a 17 year old confused girl, you may find this all relatable or appealing. If you’re not, this pretty much just is a waste of time. Luckily, it’s over before you know it.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4925292

 

Elio Perlman is a cosmopolitan kid who resides with his parents in their fancy summer-house somewhere in the north of Italy. Most of the time he’s just bored. He excels in the arts. Plays the piano, the guitar, reads a lot of books and is a bit of loner. His father does some archeological research in the area and has invited an American man to come help him. The man is dashing. He has the whole village under his charm. From the teenage girls to the poker playing seniors. However, this is Elio’s story and Elio falls in love with him.

The directing is fine. The shots are great to look at. The soundtrack really works well. Combining piano compositions with silly 80s italo-disco. The acting by newcomer Timothée Chalamat is remarkable. So different from the shy and uncomfortable appearances on talk shows. The movie makes you want to book a trip to Italy and it makes you want to retreat to go write a book or something and to fall in love with the first attractive stranger that comes around.

BUT. It’s a silly story. Boy falls for man. Man first keeps a distance. Boy starts exploring his sexuality with his best female friend. Man then lures boy into his bed. Boy dumps girlfriend. Man and boy have a holiday fling. The end. Two and a half hours long! Yawn. Yes, it’s a bit awkward to watch a blossoming relationship between an adolescent boy and a man. But watching Lolita is also awkward. But hey, it’s all consensual. The kid is a cool kid to empathize with. The man however is boring as hell. Why on earth is this kid interested in this man? That’s the big failure of this movie. The object of love and lust has the charisma of an abricot. Or no. The abricot has more charisma. Watch the movie to find out why.

Disappointed. The story is boring. The audio-visuals are beautiful.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5726616 

The South African entry for the Academy Awards of 2018 is quite a controversial movie in its home country. If focuses on the ritual tradition of the Xhosa to send their young men up to the mountains where they stay for a few weeks to be ‘initiated’ into manhood. This also means they get circumcised and need to heal. It’s a practice which still occurs these days, even though a lot of modern families send their sons to a hospital for a safe medical ‘cut’. It’s a cultural tradition and a personal affair. So, yes, this movie takes away the secrecy and brings the story to a larger (international) audience. Apart from that, the movie also focuses on three men with homosexual desires. Another controversial topic in South Africa, where being gay is legal, but doesn’t get the support from the majority of the population.

For Europeans, this is a fascinating movie. But it is voyeuristic. It’s not a movie made by and for the Xhosa people. It’s a movie made by a white director for an international crowd. Luckily, this thought only comes to mind afterwards. During the movie, you are soaked up in the story, mesmerized by the acting and in awe of the beautiful setting. The interaction between the three main actors and their characters is the best feat of the movie. The end result is quite respectful for the tradition. And the homo-erotism is very present, but not as sensational as in other movies.

Calling it the African Moonlight doesn’t do the movie justice. It’s actually sad that the latter movie won the Oscar last year, because now voters may not give this one a fair change because it’s again about black homosexuals. If the movie had been released a few years ago, it would have made a great chance of winning the Academy Award for best foreign picture.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6333070

Kicks – *

Posted: October 7, 2017 in 2016, Coming Of Age, Drama, Gangster Movie, USA, X

A 15 year old, underprivileged kid saves up for a fancy pair of sport shoes that will get him more respect. However, soon after he’s wearing them, he gets beaten up by a bunch of nozems who steal his newly acquired kicks. But he’s not ready to just give up and goes after the thief.

Sounds like a pretty normal children’s movie if you read the synopsis like that. But it’s not. This one bathes in a world full of gun carrying, cocaine sniffing, whoring and pimping young adolescents who record beating up people and then post it online. You do not want your child to see this behavior. It’s all represented as it’s every day life in the hood. There are some interesting elements though. The references to rap songs’ verses. The magical realist astronaut visit. But that’s about it. Not even Mahershala Ali can save it.

The beauty of cinema is that you get absorbed into a world that isn’t yours. That you get confronted, mesmerized and moved. This doesn’t happen here. Good luck next time, Justin Tipping, debuting director.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4254584