A summer romance that outstays its welcome
Last Summer is a Turkish film that takes all the usual tropes and tribulations of teen romcoms and does absolutely nothing to break free from the shackles of mundanity.
Armed with a familiar story, some questionable dialogue and lots of dancing and partying, Last Summer is one of those movies designed to be watched without thinking too much about the plot.
The little story that is here leans on a blossoming romance between returning 16 year old Deniz and his childhood crush Asli. Set in 1997 (despite the film being marketed as Summer 96) the movie follows the pair’s trials and tribulations across one long, long summer. And long is probably the best way to describe this movie.
Despite clocking in at 1 hour 40 minutes, the movie feels closer to a 3 hour slog. Last Summer starts quite slowly too and by the time the plot does eventually pick up, there’s so little of it here that it’s hard to become invested in the characters.
The story centers on Asli and Deniz’s romance, with numerous parties, hang-outs on the beach and a brief but lacklustre love triangle thrown in for good measure. There are some light arguments and bickering too, bolstered out by an unlikable group of friends by Deniz’s side, but honestly all of this feels like forgettable fluff to pad out what’s already a weak story.
As a slice of life examination of first love, Last Summer does an okay job at that but the characters feel bland and difficult to warm to. The European setting of Turkey is certainly a visually pleasing sight though, and the numerous sun-drenched locales are a dream to look at. That’s just as well I guess, because the movie feels like it plays in shades of dull grey for large swathes of its run-time.
The problem with all this comes down to saturation. There are so many films out there that tackle summer romances and love triangles that it makes it difficult for any one film to stand out. Especially with a title like “Last Summer”.
Ironically, last year’s The Last Summer didn’t fare much better but at least tried to inject some tension and drama into the fold. It’s also streaming on Netflix right now. There’s not a lot else here to say really, leaving Last Summer as a rather tepid and forgettable romantic drama.