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Featured DVD Review: Young and Wild

April 29th, 2013

Young and Wild - Buy from Amazon

Young and Wild is a Chilean film that opened in limited release late last year. There were almost no reviews and it failed to reach the Mendoza Line during its opening weekend. Did it deserve better? And is the DVD worth picking up?

The Movie

We first meet Daniela as she wakes up next to a boy, whom we assume is her boyfriend. She's clearly looking for a little action, but he's asleep, so she provides her own pleasure. When she finishes, we find out she's not with her boyfriend, but with a group of people. On the bus ride home, she tells us through a voiceover about her sexual history, which includes experimentation as far back to when she was 10, but more recently she's had sex with both guys and girls. After her bus trip, she arrives at her destination, which is church. Her mother, Teresa, is a devote member of their evangelical church. Obviously Daniela's sexuality is not something that meshes with her mother's religion. If her mom found out, it would cause nothing but headaches. So it is a little strange she writes about it on a blog.

A lot of the movie is Daniela writing on her blog with some of her readers responding. This sets up a very episodic feel to the movie, as the film is broken up into many, many sections, each being something she wrote about on her blog. Early on, we learn that there was a rumor that she had sex with a fellow student, a rumor that is very likely true. This is enough to get her kicked out of school, less than a month before college placement exams. Her mother reacts poorly and threatens to send her on a year-long missionary expedition. Fortunately, she has an ally in the family, Isabelle, her terminally ill aunt. Her aunt convinces Daniela's mother to not send her away, so instead her mother makes Daniela get a job at the Christian TV station where she works. Daniela decides to take her mother's punishment in as mature a way as she can, by that I mean she will seduce her young co-workers, Thomas and Antonia.

For a while, this actually is good for Daniela and Teresa's relationship. Thomas is a good Christian boy and Teresa approves of him. However, neither Teresa nor Thomas know of Daniela's relationship with Antonia and soon Daniela's wild life catches up to her.

There are a lot of films that look at the sexuality of young males, but relatively few that do the same with female protagonists. This was one of the reasons I was looking forward to seeing this movie. I was hoping to see an interesting movie about a common subject, but from a different perspective. Unfortunately, it didn't live up to my expectations. There are two serious problems with this film that hurt its effectiveness. Firstly, the protagonist isn't very sympathetic. Secondly, and more damningly, she isn't very interesting. Actually, there's a third problem. The film is unfocused, this is both in terms of the story and in terms of the style. For instance, the religious aspect of the movie is always there, but it is never brought into the forefront. The movie gives hints that it has something important to say about the subject, but never does. There are also a number of stylistic choices, some that work, some that don't. Seeing the readers of Daniela's blog as they type comments to her is a problem, because typing just isn't cinematic. That said, the film does have some strengths, including strong performances by Alicia Luz Rodriguez and Aline Kuppenheim, who do rise above the script.

The Extras

There are no real extras on the DVD. (I don't consider the trailer to be an extra.)

The Verdict

I had high hopes for Young and Wild, but it didn't live up to it. It is not a terrible movie, but even if you are interesting in the subject, the DVD is only worth a rental.

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Filed under: Video Review, Joven y alocada, Alicia Luz Rodriguez, Aline Kuppenheim, Maria Gracia Omegna, Felipe Pinto, Ingrid Isensee