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Fourteen year old Lila envies the ease with which her best friend Chiara, on the cusp of her sixteenth birthday, deals with boys. Chiara has been sexually active, although she has only gone to third base with her current boyfriend, Patrick. With no experience whatsoever on the sexual front, Lila has no adult guidance with her mother having passed, and she and her father often being at odds with each other. Lila's primary exposure to sex or sexual foreplay is being the third wheel in Chiara and Patrick's outings. In her naivety, Lila believes that what she sees between Chiara and Patrick has the potential to last forever. Regardless of her total inexperience, Lila likes to portray herself as having at least gone to third base, she doing so by mimicking what she hears from Chiara and other sexually active teens. In her own mind, Lila wants to lose her virginity, despite, if she was honest with herself, being more closely emotionally mature to her twelve year old neighbor, Nate, than ...Written by
Hittman's beautifully composed sequences could function as still photographs. Not a good choice for a casual viewer looking for a "Spring Breakers" thrill, Hittman's film puts a very fine point on the heavy, achingly quiet loneliness of adolescent girlhood.
Certainly not an experience shared by all, it will still resonate with some: fourteen year old Lila navigates Brooklyn neighborhoods both alone and with her best friend two years her senior, Chiara. In the sweaty late summer nights, she boasts untruths to her younger neighbor and frequently finds herself a third wheel with Chiara and her boyfriend. She chooses to focus her attention upon the older Sammy, a local college kid who grudgingly lets Lila insert herself into his hard-partying scene.
Ebert, in his review, compared the film to the oeuvre of Larry Clark and Harmony Korine: "Clark and Korine's work, whatever their other virtues, often seem to take place in a universe of users and abusers that's devoid of real love, indeed any possibility of anything but a fleeting connection. " It is an apt comparison. It isn't obvious what Lila is looking for, and we as the audience aren't sure if she got what she wanted, either.
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