“It Felt Like Love” – An intimate look at sexual discovery and unrequited love
Written and directed by: Eliza Hittman
Starring: Gina Piersanti, Giovanna Salameni, and Ronen Rubenstein
I am going to come out of the gate fast on this review. “It Felt Like Love” is one of the most well written and directed films I have seen in quite a while. It is Eliza Hittman’s first feature length film, and she knocked it out of the park. It worked on every level as a beautiful, heartfelt, brutal story of adolescent sexual self-discovery. But, I am getting ahead of myself. So let me rewind and tell you about the movie I just watched.
In the opening moments of the film, we meet Lila (Piersanti). She is a plain looking adolescent girl, who we see right away is the permanent third wheel for her older, more “Experienced” friend Chiara (Salameni). She follows them around on their adventures (both social and intimate) and watches longingly as they engage in various physical acts.
On an afternoon at the beach, Lila meets Sammy (Rubenstein) an older boy who is the quintessential teenage girl fantasy. He is rough around the edges, he is rebellious, he has tattoos, and he doesn’t seem to be aware that Lila even exists. This meeting leads Lila on an awkward, dangerous, and sometimes very painful journey of sexual awakening.
As I stated in the beginning of this review, the direction of Hittman is a sight to behold. The camera shots are brilliant, and serve perfectly to magnify the emotions of the fragile young woman we are watching go through the sexual growing pains we all suffer in our youth. In very scene, there is no choice but to sympathize with her when she seems alone and desperate for attention, and fear for her when she makes unwise decisions that put her in very unsafe situations.
All of the young actors do a good job, but it is certainly Gina Piersanti who gives a command performance. She is simply fearless in every moment of the film. I cannot wait to see her in future films, as I am sure she will have a long successful career.
I highly recommend this movie, and will be getting my hands on a copy of it as soon as possible. I will also be eagerly awaiting Eliza Hittman’s next film venture. Bravo!