Solid coming-of-age short, just a bit rough round the edges and lacking the real charm of Yuling's later shorts
I have been catching up on the work of Yulin Kuang, who as a student somehow managed to find it in herself to try to produce a light and charming coming-of-age short film, despite being in Pittsburgh – a city which, although it has its good points, is not really synonymous with these words. It is a genre she has become very good at, and some of her recent films have really got that mix of light cool style and charm just right. This is one of her first runs at it I guess, because it does feel a little rough around the edges, and in the light of her other work you can see what she would improve on.
The plot is quite simple as a young teenage boy prepares for a chance to kiss a girl at a spin the bottle party – when so many attempts at poetry at open mic nights to impress girls have failed to get him his first kiss. Generally the tone is light, but it doesn't quite have that spark and life that it needed to really sell the type of film it was trying to be. Perhaps it is the fact that it is a male lead, but if you compare this to the film Growing up Flat- Chested, you see what I mean by the charm and lightness of humor. Here it is good but not quite what it needs to be.
The same is to be said technically. Although it is good, it lacks the warmth and color that she would bring to her other, more charming films. It is not that I cannot deal with a film that is different, it is more that she wasn't getting it where she wanted it to be – as seen by the fact that she very quickly did with later films. It is still a solid coming of age film, with a good lead from Alexander, and I enjoyed it – just not as much as her later films where Kuang really hits the mark consistently and with confidence.
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