It Felt Like Love Reviews
The basic story is simple--earnestly so--such that most people should be able to identify with it; if not from their own lives, then knowing someone similar.
A young girl experiences mixed emotions as she watches her best friend (and best friend's boyfriend) hang out. There seems to be a sense of abandonment, and jealousy, and probably a lot of other feelings, too.
And so she decides to find herself a boy of her own. Her target? An older fellow who will have sex with anyone (as rumor has it).
It's so awkward watching her trying to push her way into this boy's world. He has no interest in her, and he humors her for a while. When things get bristly and strange, the pace of the movie seems to slow down, forcing the viewer to feel every awkward bit of awkwardness in all its awkward glory.
It doesn't help that we stop caring about this girl and her quest for this dude midway through the movie. The more interesting storyline is that of her best friend/boyfriend. We see the downfall of that relationship in all its glorious terror. The boyfriend is caught up on the fact that she is more experienced sexually than he is. And watching this best friend navigate the crap that this guy says and does to her almost washes our mouths from the bitter taste of the main storyline.
That said, it's hard to see who the target audience is for It Felt Like Love. It's didactic simplicity (and awkwardness) might make it too annoying for people who have matured beyond these stages. But at the same time, it's certainly not a movie that will capture the attention of other 14-year-old girls, you know?
I really enjoyed it.
A young girl, envious of her more experienced best friend, tries to win the love of a boy.
Review (with Spoilers)
Independent films often times are very odd motion pictures, if just because they usually try to tell a story which doesn't feel like something you are used to seeing. With this though comes a risk of not connecting with the audience for if it is too weird or just is hard to connect with. As for It Felt Like Love, while a coming of age film which certainly seems to want to stand out, I don't know if it may connect with you.
Characters & Story
Poor Lila (Gina Piersanti) has seemingly lived the life of being best friend Chiara's (Giovanna Salimeni) 3rd wheel for who knows how long. And with them both approaching 16, and Lila living vicariously through Chiara, it seems Lila is ready to try to get out there, date, and fall in love. Leading us to watch as Lila pursues this guy named Sammy (Ronen Rubinstein) who is cute, knows Chiara, and seems like someone decent.
Films which deal with self-discovery, especially during the teen years, are usually from varied perspectives but almost every single one of the deal with being validated by winning the attention of someone. This one is no different, but what I like about this one is that Lila comes off utterly average. She doesn't seem to have the appeal Chiara has which makes guys gravitate to her, she isn't the best dancer so she doesn't have a draw there, and her being such a basic run of the mill person makes her so strangely relatable. For without any bells and whistles, all she has is the fact she is human and wants attention and affection.
And while, I'll admit, I wasn't too fond how she went for it, at the same time you can understand her sort of silent desperation to connect with someone she wanted to care for her. Also, shifting things to Chiara, while she may have all the stuff a guy may want, the issue is, as we see with the first guy introduced Patrick (Jesse Cordasco), that even having what is desirable isn't all it is cracked up to be for it comes with its own issues. For then you have to deal with insecure boys, not being treated as you feel you should, and while Chiara certainly isn't the main focus, she does show that rarely seen side of the girl who has it all, and yet still can't really get the ideal.
Leading to the criticism which perhaps could be taken as a praise depending how you look at it. This filmed feels like they filmed an actual person's life, and with that comes this dullness which may give authenticity, but creates an immense sense of boredom. For with the film feeling like it represents a two week period, in which there isn't much in terms of growth really, you are left wondering what is the film trying to put out there? Unless the main goal was simply finishing the film. For with this being Writer/ Director Eliza Hitman's first film, as well as the first film for many of the actors, I almost feel this wasn't made necessarily to show off talent, but simply for exposure for the young artist, and Hitman gaining a sense of accomplishment by finishing a film and getting it out there.
With this feeling, and noting this is the first movie for nearly all involved, I feel this weird need to give this film a pass for having a weak story, and sort of bland characters. And yet, at the same time I feel like I should still compare this to other indie movies and call it out for being lackluster.
Overall: TV Viewing
Honestly, a part of me wants to say you should skip this. Yet, at the same time I value the fact that for most of those involved this was their first big film and while it may not have been to my liking, it doesn't mean it is horrible. If anything, it is one of those films in which you have to respect the conditions of how it was made and who took part in making it. Also, with Lila we get the rare girl who seems perfectly average. She isn't rich, doesn't have much to offer but her time, and yet still, like any of us, believes she is worthy of someone she likes loving her. And it makes me want applaud the film for it certainly reminds you of the value indie movies have for they try to portray something different than usually seen. And while between the director's vision, and the ultimate produce, it may not have seemed to have worked, you have to admire all that was done so you even get to see the film. So, taking note of what was said, I'm labeling this as "TV Viewing" for it may not be exemplary, but it is adequate.