First Girl I Loved Review

  • Written by  Luisa Ryan
  • Thursday, 06 July 2017 14:16
Published in Movies and TV News  
|   Tagged under   
'First Girl I Loved' is an earnest film about discovering who you are in the first blushes of love.

Anne (Dylan Gelula) is the grungy, artistic girl at school with a blue streak in her matted hair, wearing a red flannelette shirt and clutching a battered old camera in her nail-bitten hands. We first meet her when she is taking photos of a girls’ softball game, ostensibly for the high school yearbook. There she locks eyes with preppy star player Sasha (Brianna Hildebrand) and the rest, as they say, is history.

While the film has some outstanding performances and sometimes hits uncomfortably close to home when it comes to awkward teenage crush angst, the plot is a little overly complicated. Director Kerem Sanga seems to be trying to push too many important themes into one movie.

Encountering Sasha is clearly the first time Anne has considered the possibility that she might be attracted to the same sex. When Anne confides in her best friend Clifton (Mateo Arias), he takes the news poorly, to say the least. He had been harbouring a crush of his own, and applies a scorched earth policy to the friendship. While he does make an abrupt, self-sacrificing and somewhat incongruent turn at the end of the film, his is the most fully sketched character.

The budding romance between the girls is a little too realistic at times; there are lots of giggles and awkward pauses. Unless this film is specifically pitched at 17-year-olds, this could have been scaled back. Anne’s character is very convincing, but Sasha’s willingness to see the flirtation through runs hot and cold, with the changes of heart coming a little too quickly at times to be believable.

The flashback structure of the film is unnecessary, as are some of the many twists and turns, but all in all this is a sweet coming-of-age film that deserves to find an audience.

'First Girl I Loved' is in cinemas nationally from 14 July.


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