As we feel the summer breeze amidst our last week at SAS, it felt appropriate to critique the film at this time. The Last Summer, directed by William Bindley, is a story of individuals who come home for the last summer before they head off to college.
Unlike a romantic comedy, it introduces reality in a way that we question relationships or relationships that we want to pursue. It is an all too real and witty piece that introduces themes of romance, family hardships, and self vs society. First, we meet Riverdale rookie, KJ Apa.
This character, Griffin, is the main focus of the piece as he struggles to figure out who he is. Often throughout the film, you notice him versus the society that he’s against. He explores the world around him and allows his experiences to shape who he is to become.
He does this through pursuing an old flame, also known as Phoebe, who he decides to connect with before heading off to college. As he spends more time with her, she highlights what Griffin should do with his life and points out his strengths such as music.
She awakes his ability to apply to music school as a result of him helping out with the soundtracks to her film. As for Phoebe, she’s one character to look for. She is determined and focused on her priorities of getting her film done by the end of summer. The reason she must be watched is because she has the revealing moment of needing to let go. She’s a character in which Griffin had a hard time getting through to but when he did, he realised just how much they had in common. Both characters were realistic even though they were chasing after a love they wanted to explore.
“It’s classic “high school, but make it Hollywood” type stuff — annoying, yet forgivable. Then, things get baffling.”-Alison Foreman, Mashable
I’d have to agree that the director tries a little too hard in making it relevant as well as the generic “Hollywood” type filter to blend with the other romantic comedies released on Netflix. As Foreman, states it is ‘annoying, yet forgivable’.
The piece that specifically follows Griffin and Phoebe’s romance is all too realistic, which is something that romantic comedies don’t usually tend to achieve. It’s a mature yet bonding connection they share, where they don’t question the status of what they are and instead live in the moment. It’s an important message that Bindley highlights: that living in the moment is what you should do. In today’s modern day, we tend to question that status of everything instead of taking it as it is.
Of course, there are many more romances explored in this film but they all hone down to one point: take a chance on love and new experiences while you can. What it lacks thereof is introducing or saying anything poignant about the transitory period of moving from high school to adulthood. The director did well in his ability of establishing mature and realistic relationships, but lacked and fell into the cliched version of all romantic comedy endings. Overall, I would give it a solid effort and congratulate its ability to establish relationships that are realistic, especially before skipping town to head on over to college.