Netflix Recommendation: “Teenage Cocktail” Is Both a Sweet Love Story, and a Warning For the Internet Generation
Director: John Carchietta
What starts out as a sweet, high school love story ends up taking some dark, violent turns in director John Carchietta‘s “Teenage Cocktail”. Masterfully avoiding stereotypes and blending genres, Carchietta succeeds in crafting a complete story of reckless, young love. Aided by two fine performances by Nichole Bloom and Fabianne Therese, the film, which is now streaming on Netflix, is one that shouldn’t be missed.
Annie (Bloom) has just begrudgingly moved to a small town, with her parents (Michelle Borth and Joshua Leonard) and her younger brother. Already feeling alone and unhappy, she is instantly bullied at school and isolated to “New kid” status. Then she meets a beautiful, confident girl named Jules (Therese) when she stumbles in on Jules doing a dance routine. Slowly, and at times awkwardly, the two develop a friendship. That friendship morphs into a tender romance, and soon they are making plans to escape their boring, small town lives and head to New York together. The only problem is that they need money… a LOT of money.
When Jules lets Annie in on a dirty little secret (that she makes money on a web cam site), the two decide that, that is their ticket out of here. The more they are willing to push boundaries, the more money they make. Quickly becoming impatient, and wanting to move on to the next chapter of their adventure, they go further and further. It doesn’t take long though for shit to hit the fan, when everyone at school learns of their risque scheme. Add to that an obsessed fan (Pat Healy), who is unsatisfied with his home life and will do whatever it takes to meet the girls in person, and you can see the consequences for their actions coming at them like a freight train.
“Teenage Cocktail” is tonally perfect throughout it’s 88 minute run time. Expertly edited and shot (by DP Justin Kane), it pulls you in and gets you emotionally invested in two characters that easily could’ve become cliches but end up being endlessly intriguing instead. Bloom and Therese are both strong on their own, but together have a chemistry that really elevates the film’s story from good to great.
This movie has a lot of layers, and each of them blend well to form something pretty impressive. It has multiple social warnings about the dangers of the internet and those of pretending to be something you’re not to achieve a goal. The characters are all in a mess that seems very plausible and equally terrifying. I came in knowing that I love most of the films Travis Stevens produces and I adore Fabianne Therese, and came out dying to see what Carchietta does next.