The Last Summer Fails To Leave A Lasting Impression
The Last Summer is a bit like drinking warm water on a hot day. It satisfies your needs but lacks any distinct flavour or enjoyment. Hitting Netflix today, coming-of-age comedy The Last Summer features a misfit group of teenagers sharing one last summer together before heading off on their separate paths to college. From break-ups and summer flings to the fear of the unknown and adult work, The Last Summer highlights all the ups and downs through its diverse group of characters forming the core of this film. Unfortunately, next to so many other big titles in this genre, The Last Summer fails to find its own voice, and it’s own theme, to stand out.
The story follows a whole group of unconnected teenagers that have little in common despite living in Chicago. Griffin and Phoebe play out the will they/won’t they romantic angle, reconnecting after prep school and spending their time working on Phoebe’s documentary together. Alec and Erin break up early on to avoid an awkward long distance fling and begin dating new people after their tight-knit 2 year relationship. Meanwhile, Alec’s friend Foster intends to nail his bucket list of summer goals while Erin’s best friend Audrey spends her summer babysitting a child actress. Rounding out these group of characters are two nerds, and best friends, Reece and Chad, who subvert expectations and find themselves embraced and accepted into the adult world.
For the most part, The Last Summer plays out in a typically predictable manner. Each of the characters engage in pretty formulaic arcs, with the usual romantic drama pinned to the foreground of this picture and drawing inspiration from a range of different films in this category. While there are some internal conflicts between each of the characters, The Last Summer never really dives deeply enough into the characters’ psyches to really help this one stand out. It lacks the memorable characters of Breakfast Club and American Pie, the deep characterization of Call Me By My Name and the comedy of films like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. What we’re left with is a vanilla experience; a film that does quite well with its content but fails to really stand out.
Visually, The Last Summer does do well here though. The saturated colour palette and array of block text effects that show up during text messaging segments are a nice touch and certainly add to the aesthetic of the film. Some of the lighting is pretty slick too which helps, backed up by some decent hedonistic neon colours during the night scenes.
The Last Summer is certainly pleasant enough to sit through and there are some nice ideas nestled in this film. Unfortunately it fails to really stamp its authority on this sub-genre of drama, lacking a definitive narrative voice to really tell us much other than what we already know. While the various narratives do well to accentuate the stages of growing up, even these feel very typical of this genre of film. Beyond that, there’s really not a lot else going on here. Next to some of the aforementioned films in this category, The Last Summer is unlikely to leave a lasting impression.
Verdict - 5.5/10