Friday, June 16, 2023

An Unforgettable Year: Winter: Movie Review

Slow and thoughtful teen romance.
(See An Unforgettable Year series ranking and comparison)

For those new, An Unforgettable Year is a four-film (and book) stand-alone series of teen romance. The Amazon Prime releases started with Summer, then Autumn, and now we’re at Winter. I’ll have more to say about the order and progression of the series when Spring is released next week (link added above). But for now, we’re headed to the mountains in Chile with soon-to-be-high-school-graduate Mabel (MaitĂȘ Padilha).   2023

Directed by: Caroline Fioratti

Screenplay by: Angela Hirata Fabri
Based on the short story by Paula Pimenta

Starring: MaitĂȘ Padilha, Michel Joelsas

Mabel is a bookworm who likes reading and writing in her diary and looking forward to their senior class trip to a beach or some other warm resort where she can read and work on her tan and her two best friends can flirt with boys. Instead, Mabel’s parents spring an unpleasant surprise on her where Mabel spends the week with her family at a ski resort in Chile, where she hates the freezing cold and hates skiing. At least she has her books.

There’s more of an ethereal style to Winter compared to Autumn or Summer. A dream-like quality where Mabel is frequently floating through space or water or vast snow drifts as she’s lost in her own thoughts or writing an imaginary story. I was more inclined to call Summer and Autumn romantic comedies, but Winter is a slower, less energetic, less comedically-inclined drama where it’s a teen romance with some tragedy and adversity sprinkled in.

Mabel’s love interest is Benjamin (Michel Joelsas) a cute ski instructor that all of the other girls at the resort also like. Mabel isn’t really interested in him except she sees him and his other friends reciting a cult-like ritual at night and she wants to know more to write a story about it. Her mother, a journalist, tells her about a random time she went undercover, so Mabel pretends to take skiing lessons from him to learn more. She lasts all of maybe one minute undercover before literally telling Ben why she’s taking skiing lessons from him.

Like the rest of the series, there’s a hetero romance central to the film with progressive friends rounding out the supporting cast. The main themes including being yourself. That comes through in the plot when Ben falls for Mabel instead of any of the other girls throwing themselves at him because Mabel’s not trying to be anyone but herself.

An Unforgettable Year: Winter is a slow, and at times, a very plodding teen romantic dramedy. Mabel is a very introverted protagonist, which can make it a hard film to really feel engaged with but there is thought put into how Mabel is going to respond in each situation and how her relationship with Benjamin and her new friends progresses, and this is where the tragedy and adversity previously mentioned enter the story.

The rest of the An Unforgettable Year series:

  An Unforgettable Year: Summer

  An Unforgettable Year: Autumn

  An Unforgettable Year: Spring

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