- BOTTOM LINE: Much Ado About Love
|Platform: Netflix||Genre: Comedy|
What is the Story about?
A group of high school graduates in Chicago has nothing less than 72 days before choosing their respective paths towards college life. It’s officially the last summer they would spend together. Amid all the hullabaloo, these are testing times for the students in terms of forging friendships, love lives, and relationships. The film breezes past the final stretch of their high school days, while they decide their career, professional and personal priorities. On the brink of adulthood and being exposed to the big bad world, this phase opens them to deeper truths of life, handling rejection with grace and ultimately moving on. The story is mostly in the feel-good college drama-space and could have done with more purpose.
K J Apa plays the role of Griffin and delivers one of the most likeable, appealing performances of the film. He has a charming persona reflecting the exuberance of early teenage years and shares a warm on-screen camaraderie with Maia Mitchell (Phoebe), who with her child-like appeal as a budding filmmaker, lends innocence and charm to the frames. Jacob Latimore and Halston Sage bag roles as confused youngsters who’re uncertain about the future of their relationship in the film, and pull off neat performances as well.
William Bindley, who returns to feature-film direction after an 18-year hiatus does show some signs of rustiness despite the occasional sparkle. The director visualises The Last Summer as a nostalgic happy-go-lucky college film. While the writing doesn’t supplement his film as well as he would expect to, William tries to bring a sense of realism into the narrative by
mirroring the relevant ideas and mindsets of current-day high-school students. The film explores the fragility of modern-day
relationships, the thin-line between friendship and love, all in a breezy, humourous manner and sometimes lacking enough depth.
Though most of the lead characters are well-etched, everything in the film merely boils down to love, sex and getting laid. Being the last days of summer, the discussion about careers isn’t given great significance and the film devotes most of its attention to sorting out relationships over college admissions. Everything about the film is too sugar-coated, simplistic.
Say, Phoebe is an aspirant filmmaker, she wants to get into NYU for its filmmaking course and expectedly, her current documentary gets all the acclaim to guarantee her admission. Griffin despite wanting to make a career in music, is asked to join Columbia University by his parents for another course soon. And what does the director do? He uses a disturbing equation between the son and father as an excuse and finally makes character join Berklee School of Music. Everything’s that convenient!
There’s no struggle for anything here, these are the lives of uber-rich students where everything comes on a platter. Everything about the film is pleasant and the conflicts aren’t given much weight. Given how well the diverse characters are written, it’s disappointing to know that the film doesn’t try to do or tell anything substantial through them. However, for those in the mood of designer, larger-than-life narratives, The Last Summer won’t disappoint.
Sosie Bacon is a confident performer, cast in a reasonably nuanced yet vulnerable role, who bares her soul to her young sister. Her character is quite integral to the film because it tells that everyone has a different yardstick to measure the success in each of their lives. Jacob McCarthy shines in brief portions as a high-school student gatecrashing into an investor conference where he meets the love of his life. Ed Quinn (as Griffin’s dad), Norman Johnson Jr and others get very little meat in their roles to make an impact.
Music and other departments?
The composer Ryan Miller completely understands and complements the space in which the film is set. His music is full of life, vigour, and purpose and there’s nothing better you could ask for a fluffy, breezy college romance. Luca Del Puppo’s cinematography is the lifeline of the film, his frames reflect the mood of the content, is always on the move, rich in colour, capturing Chicago’s scenic locales impressively. The editing is fairly okay. It’s only that the purpose for which all the departments are coming together for, i.e. the story that disappoints more than anything else.
Impressive music score
Lacks emotional depth
Many cinematic liberties
Will you recommend it?
Yes, with reservations
The Last Summer Review by Srivathsan N
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