Last Summer (2013)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

USA, 2013.  A&G.  Screenplay by Mark Thiedeman.  Cinematography by .  Produced by Elizabeth Strandberg, Mark Thiedeman.  Film Editing by Mark Thiedeman.

Short, romantically intense examination of the relationship of two boys in love and facing separation for the first time since childhood.  Now in their final year of high school, their relationship is put to the test when Jonah is getting close to leaving their tiny town for college, while Luke is not likely to go anywhere.  Should they be practical and break up, should they enjoy the remaining time they have together or should they hope for the best and stay committed after he leaves?  There’s also the option of Jonah staying, which he brings up to a confused but not selfish boyfriend who does not want him to give up the opportunity he has for education.  Matt Thiedeman’s direction is less interested in the decision to be made between these guys and more in examining the energy they generate in stillness, which he mines well given that the two charismatic actors have great chemistry between them.  What is missing is some kind of narrative pull, as the stakes at the centre of the story are not felt all that strong and the film feels like one act without much movement to it.  The atmosphere is rich, however, and what is most wonderful about this film is seeing a story set in the southern states where everyone with a twangy accent isn’t portrayed as a hateful, uneducated fool.

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