Movie Review – The Last Summer

TL;DR – This is a perfectly fine film, but it felt like it could have been more if they had gone for something other than the shotgun approach to storytelling.

Score – 3 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene

The Last Summer. Image Credit: Netflix.

Review

It has been a long time since the sort of wholesome teen romance film was in vogue. You know the sort of film that can get away with having bloopers during the end credits. In some respects, this feels like a lost art that was only recaptured recently thanks in part by a number of films on Netflix. Well today we take a look at an interesting example of this genre that has moments of real joy in between moments of real dullness.

So to set the scene, it is the last summer after the end of high school where everyone is having fun before having to move away for college. Our story revolves around a group of teens that sort of know each other from school as they endure heartbreak after heartbreak. You have Griffin (KJ Apa) who is coming home from prep-school, so he feels disconnected for most of the people who stayed in Chicago. You have Alec (Jacob Latimore) and Erin (Halston Sage) who are going to different colleges so they decide to pre-emptively break up. Also Audrey (Sosie Bacon) has been put on the wait-list from even her back-up, back-up College and does not know what she wants to do with her life. All of these stories sort of collide with each other over the summer as people’s priorities are put into focus.

The Last Summer. Image Credit: Netflix.
There are some really strong character moments here. Image Credit: Netflix.

This is in most respects is a perfectly fine film, it has the usual plot beats, the cast is all fine, it gets to where it is going mostly fine with only five minutes of white people talking about American BBQ like they are experts. However, as I got to the end of the film I couldn’t help but feel that so many of the story threads of this film actually didn’t matter. In many respects what we have here is like the shotgun approach to storytelling where you fire everything up onto the screen and hope something there catches you and drags you through the film. It is an approach that can really work, but your stories have to be incredibly tight, so that every interaction, every cross over of plot lines has you as an audience member going ‘wait no’. However, this is not the case here.

Part of the problem is that this film has too many moving parts, and would have worked much better had it been slimmed down. For example, each of the three major plot threads could have been a film in their own rights. Like the guy who comes home, reunites with a girl from his past, Phoebe (Maia Mitchell) only to discover that his dad is having an affair with her mum. Or the two kids who thing that the pre-emptive break up is a good idea only to discover that no it is not. Or the person finding themselves while being the babysitter for a kid wise beyond her years, and also has a reality TV wannabe mum. All of these could have been interesting character pieces, but when crammed in together, and with a couple of other plot threads, it feels cluttered at best and shallow at worse. This leads to under-developed characters that just feel like sad rich kids that don’t really have many struggles in their lives than actual compelling people.

The Last Summer. Image Credit: Netflix.
However, there are too many moving parts to give you any kind of depth. Image Credit: Netflix.

While there are issues with the structure of the narrative, this is still a really well-constructed film on a technical level. There is a good use of colour and lighting throughout the film, and it was apparent that there was a good eye put towards framing scenes. It is a film that also makes the most out of its location, with a lot of the film taking place outside that gives the film a warmth that it really needs. One thing I did notice was some odd moments with the sound balance at times that felt like the whole soundscape maybe needed one more pass before release.

In the end, do we recommend The Last Summer? Yer sure. I don’t think it reached its potential, but it is still a solid film with some really good character moments. As well as this, if you like this genre of films, I think you will like a couple of the nods to other films in the past. For me, it was just missing maybe one more draft on the script to take it from perfectly fine to something great.   

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

Have you seen The Last Summer yet ?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.    


Credits –
All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of The Last Summer
Directed by
– William Bindley
Written by – William Bindley & Scott Bindley
Cinematography by – Luca Del Puppo
Edited by – William Hoy & Melissa Remenarich-Aperlo
Music by – Ryan Miller
Production/Distribution Companies – Gulfstream Pictures & Netflix
Starring –    KJ Apa, Maia Mitchell, Jacob Latimore, Halston Sage, Tyler Posey, Sosie Bacon, Mario Revolori, Wolfgang Novogratz, Jacob McCarthy, Gage Golightly, Audrey Grace Marshall, Greer Grammer, Jackie Sandler, Norman Johnson Jr, Gabrielle Anwar, Ed Quinn, Brenna Sherman, Gabriel “Minnow” Vigliotti & Ryan Hill.

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