Thursday, February 25, 2021

Geez & Ann: Movie Review

A leisurely romantic drama that has its charms.

Geez & Ann is an Indonesian teen romantic drama. It starts out very sweet and charming and cute, but before the half-way mark drama takes over, weighs it down and really slows it down. However, these characters have a fairly unique path and take the film in a different evolution than usual for the genre even though it feels very familiar.   2021

Directed by: Rizki Balki

Screenplay by: Cassandra Massardi, Adi Nugroho

Starring: Hanggini, Junior Roberts

This would be a particularly compelling film for teens and young adults who like the romantic drama genre but want to branch out into other cultures. The production value is really high, the film has the usual beats that American film audiences can recognize, and the cinematography is lovely. It looks more like an accurate representation of Jakarta as opposed to an overly glamourized representation, but still has really lovely scenery and bright locations.

The main charm of Geez & Ann is Ann (Hanggini). She’s the over-achieving girl who is also the center of her friend group. Her large group of girlfriends all rally around her, hanging on her every word, but at the same time, Ann isn’t the life of the party. She’s the quiet one who keeps her nose down and gets her homework done. The quiet and reserved one who is also the popular one – it’s an unusual mix but really works for this character, and anchored by a star-calibre performance by the Indonesian actress Hanggini.

Geez is smitten by Ann right away, but Ann takes her time getting to know him. He’s just a boy, but school is her future. But he’s also a boy who writes songs for her, the boy her friends adore, and the boy who pampers her with gifts. She eventually falls in love. The drama however is Geez’s mother is forcing him to pursue business school in Germany. Geez lies because it’s easier than telling the truth, to anybody; Ann accepts their long-distance future. Meanwhile, Geez’s mother is a cartoon villain. Actually, no that’s too kind. She literally hits her son, she has tried her entire life to disown him because she hates his father and yet controls every aspect on his life even when he’s in Germany.

The conflict brought on by Geez’s terrible mother and the eventual long-distance relationship really slow the film down; however, it also takes a few well-earned turns. As the distance slowly breaks Ann’s heart, the emotion is real (this is legitimately a star-calibre performance), and Ann is torn between living her best life and waiting around in tears for a response from Geez.

It’s definitely a romantic drama, staying true to the genre, but it also ends up spreading the love and heartache over five years. It’s slow but also charming and compelling enough to drive towards the atypical finale. It won’t be what most fans expect, which can be both detrimental and work to its advantage. I like that they went for something slightly different.