FIRST GIRL I LOVED (Sarasota Film Festival Review)

26-first-girl-i-loved.w1200.h630Carol: Millennial High School Edition

First Girl I l Loved beautifully articulates the messiness of young love. There are shades of us all in these characters. Beautifully taps into the feelings of falling in love as a teenager. The confusion, rage, ambiguity, and frustration. The film even accentuates the dark colors, presenting a tumultuous and insular environment.

What stands above some of the contrived storytelling choices is the overall honesty of the writing and strength of the performances including Dylan Gelluva (you may recognize her from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), in a revelatory performance as our protagonist Anne. An interesting effect the filmmaker explores is the subjective nature of our memory. At times proved successful, other times left me bewildered. Perhaps a linear approach would have been just as effective than the sometimes tacked on and fragmented risk.

The film averts typical coming-of-age cliches, yet falls flat into others. Much of the sensitivity and emotional resonance is eclipsed to subordinate melodrama, and worst of all, applies a third-act hackneyed plot device that is no better than some of the stuff you see on an average Lifetime movie. [B]

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