I’m sad to wrap up Feminist February…even though, let’s be real–in this Blog Collab, it’s always Feminist February. We’re back in our indie groove yet again for a film centered around female relationships and the ways they shape our leading ladies.
A teen visits her novelist aunt for a summer, leading to discoveries about herself and several of the women in her life.
Cyd, a seemingly well-adjusted teen living in South Carolina with her father, is currently driving everyone up the wall. Under the pretense of checking out Chicago’s colleges, Cyd goes to stay with her aunt Miranda for a few weeks in the summer.
Miranda, a successful novelist, lives a relatively quiet life in the house where she grew up with Cyd’s mother. Since Cyd’s mother died violently nearly 10 years before, the family has drifted out of touch.
Though Cyd has a boyfriend at home, she is immediately attracted to a barista she meets after getting lost on a run around the neighborhood. When the barista, Katie, invites Cyd out for a walk, they later have to slow dance on a balcony for art.
Meanwhile, Cyd has deep conversations with her aunt about life, religion, sex, and death. You know, polite family small talk. Cyd encourages her aunt, who frequently writes about single, divorced, or unhappily partnered people, to date a longterm friend. However, Miranda seems pretty keen on maintaining her solitary but fulfilled life.
The two women get into the routine of sunbathing in Miranda’s garden, though initially Miranda claims she doesn’t even own a bathing suit. Cyd, despite not being a reader, picks up Miranda’s books and starts to gain some insight into her aunt’s life.
If the film can be said to have a structured plot, it’s all about Miranda’s soirée, a word she repeats approximately 4,835 times. Cyd decides to make a splash at the party by borrowing a tux from Katie–damn, grrrrrrrl. She pulls off the look. She really fucking pulls off the look.
After the party, Cyd and Miranda get into a fight about Cyd’s actions, but it quickly delves into deeper philosophical and spiritual realms. They are snapped back to reality when Katie experiences a crisis with her brother’s friend, and Cyd and Miranda are there for her. It is through Katie that we learn the meaning behind the film’s title, as well as discover what really happened to Cyd’s mother (spoiler alert: it’s really sad).
Will Cyd and Miranda allow the summer to change them or is it better to keep the past in the past?
3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads
First off, the aesthetic of this film is beautiful. Jessie Pinnick (Cyd) is gorgeous, so there are tons and tons and tons of close-ups on her face. At times this gets uncomfortable and starts to feel voyeuristic to me. I do like our main 3 ladies a lot and enjoy that they all have unique perspectives and approaches to life that complement each other rather than conflict.
The thing I really appreciate about the dynamic between Cyd and Miranda is that they influence each other and draw out the best rather than transforming. Cyd is incredibly direct and unafraid to ask questions, but she learns to do so in a way that’s inquisitive without diminishing viewpoints different from her own. Miranda, in the act of sunbathing in her backyard with Cyd, embraces some of her carefree attitude and confidence in her body. If this were a generic rom-com, Cyd would set Miranda up with her friend. But instead, Cyd learns to accept her aunt’s independent, aromantic life is not equivalent to an empty existence.
Confession time: while I liked the ideas and themes here, I did find the plot very meandering. There was something that didn’t quite click for me–maybe since my last pick was a Disney film I was expecting bigger drama and more sentimentality.