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1981 is a charming little story that takes us on a small trip through the director's pubescent life during the school year of '81.
The young, chubby and materialistic Ricardo Trogi (pronounced Tro-Gee) has moved to a new neighborhood and school. His sister has an expensive mouth-retainer and a new cat that she can't seem to find. Ricardo's Dad is struggling for permanent work but remains optimistic, while his mother is the backbone of the family. Ricardo lies to his classmates about his acquisition of Playboys, he's got a huge crush on a girl, he dwells on popularity....any of this sounding familiar? Of course, it's middle school life!
This coming of age tale is one of the better ones I've seen in a while. With a lively, fun, and heartfelt vibe, Trogi succeeded in re-imagining a time of his life where he struggled with choosing rights from wrongs, and realizing that honesty and a little caring are just as important as that new and super cool doohickey. Not to say there aren't any surprises with his moral learning along the way.
Besides the two stand-out performances of Ricardo's Mother and Father, the film was led by another unstoppable aspect; the 80's. He's totally captured the 80s feel from the Star Wars bed spreads, to the walk-mans, to the calculator watches and most importantly the fashion. Oh God, the fashion.
When combining a thoughtful and humorous storyline with a smirk-worthy set and style, it's almost impossible not to enjoy this charming re-telling. My only real gripe with the movie was the length. A couple ideas and scenes went on a bit too long seemingly to really drive home the points of the story. But besides that, the film is recommended to everyone who grew up in the 80s, and anyone who enjoys reminiscing about their younger days.
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