Summer 1993 is a semi-autobiographical film by Carla Simón. It follows a young girl in the summer following the death of her parents as she struggles to adapt to her new life. The film was Spain's submission to the Foreign Language Film competition at last year's Academy Awards, and while it wasn't selected, it received great praise.
For the most part, I felt like this film succeeded emotionally. It is certainly a character-driven film. There really isn't a huge message to be gained from the film, but it is still fascinating to follow the protagonist and her story. The film has a sense of realism to it, unafraid to portray emotion as it is. At times, it can be a difficult film to watch, as it is truly easy to sympathize with the pain which the protagonist is feeling, but at other times, it was light and fun. This didn't feel like tonal inconsistency, but instead, an effort to portray the various ups and downs in life. That being said, there were some parts of the story that I found to be somewhat unfulfilling. There was a lot of ambiguity surrounding what caused the death of the protagonist's parents. There are some discussions regarding what it is, but it is never named specifically. I feel that if this had been named specifically, the film could have been even more effective at building sympathy. Additionally, I felt like some of the supporting characters were a little underdeveloped. The film could have spared to be a bit longer and have some more development of Frida's aunt and uncle.
I thought that the film was very well-made. Being Simón's feature debut, I was very impressed by her proficiency in telling a story cinematically. The cinematography is absolutely beautiful. The filmmakers did a great job of capturing the beautiful scenery in the Spanish countryside. The use of music was also very good. I thought that the cast did a great job. Laia Artigas is wonderful in her leading role. She shows a surprising range for a child actress, handling even the toughest scenes with elegance and skill. David Verdaguer is also a standout in his supporting role.
Overall, I liked Summer 1993 quite a bit. It isn't the most impactful film, but it's very well-made and has an interesting character story, combining a story of a grieving child and a coming-of-age film.
Summer 1993 is now playing in select theaters.
Big Tuna's Rating: B
How Did I Watch It?: A press screener.
Had I Seen It Before?: No.
Would I Watch It Again?: Probably.
My new reviews are being posted on POPAXIOM (popaxiom.com)!
I look at films as if through old red and blue 3D glasses— one lens is as art, one lens is as entertainment.
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