Friday, June 2, 2023

An Unforgettable Year: Summer: Movie Review

A messy teen rom-com that can still showcase Carnaval in all its glorious colours and music.
(See An Unforgettable Year series ranking and comparison)

An Unforgettable Year: Summer is a Brazilian romantic dramedy set during none other than Carnaval. As suggested by the title, it is indeed part of a 4-film series. Autumn, Winter and Spring will be released in consecutive weeks on Amazon Prime. Based on the Portuguese book series, they are unconnected short stories with one simple theme in common: teens finding themselves and falling in love, and an interesting trend: each one has a specific South American location.   2023

Directed by: Cris d'Amato

Screenplay by: Bruno Garotti, Sylvio Gonçalves, Maira Oliveira
Based on the short story by Thalita Rebouças

Starring: Livia Inhudes

If it’s not clear, the target audience for this movie is on the younger side. Simplistic characters with an easy plot, no significant drama and even less comedy. It’s more of an introduce teens to Carnaval through a light-weight, easily-digestible rom-com type of movie. In the subsequent seasons, new teen characters will discover Paulista Avenue in Sao Paolo and the ski slopes of Chile.

It’s summer and Inha (Livia Inhudes) is desperate to go to fashion school in Paris, but her father has no intention of letting her and she also has no resume that would get her accepted. When she hears that famous Brazilian designer Carrie (Mariana Rios) will be at Carnaval, her grandmother convinces her to go to Rio de Janeiro and meet her fashion idol. So she does.

Things happen quickly and easily in teen rom-com world. She steals her dad’s car, but one quick lie resolves that, she lies her way into a samba school and instantly starts designing costumes, and whenever she does something she’s not supposed to they threaten to fire her (from what? A job she was not hired to do and is not paid to do?) and then meets awesome friends within minutes. As I said, this is teen rom-com world. Things are supposed to be funny but really they’re just unreasonably easy.

The casting is great. Even though Amazon’s plot description tries to pretend that Inha hates Carnaval, that’s not true. She’s mildly apprehensive at the beginning but then fits right in. Lead actress Livia Inhudes has the looks and personality to embody Inha exactly; she’s a fun girl with an outgoing personality. Most of the supporting characters are very one-dimensional, but her brother Tavinho (Diego Martins) has a memorable story in limited screen time.

Overall, the production design is fantastic. But there are a lot of holes in the story and illogical editing that unfortunately detract. The worst offender: during a climactic kiss in the final scene, the song in the background is singing “No means no”. There’s no way the film intends to send that message, and yet there it is to lead into a very messy ending. Hopefully the target audience won’t notice such issues, but they will notice the gorgeous designs and the love and inclusivity that abounds during Carnaval.

The rest of the An Unforgettable Year series:

  An Unforgettable Year: Autumn

  An Unforgettable Year: Winter

  An Unforgettable Year: Spring

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