Lila, a fourteen year old girl, lives in a blue-collar Brooklyn neighborhood with her father. It's summer and she spends most of her time at the beach with her more "experienced" best friend Chiara, often playing the third wheel to her and her boyfriend. Lonely and somewhat awkward around the opposite sex, Lila wants to emulate Chiara's behavior in an effort to feel wanted and desired. Enter Sammy, a tough older guy, who Lila becomes fixated on, attempting to insert herself into his much darker world. Eliza Hittman's It Felt Like Love is an impressive first-time feature that effectively transports the viewer into the mind of a girl living in a world that objectifies even young woman as sexual objects. Eliza Hittman shows a great eye for detail, capturing the smaller, subtle moments of a young girl who feels unwanted or appreciated. Using insert shots, Hittman captures an almost meditative state of a fragile psyche who just wants to be wanted and desired. Persuasive cultural forces such as rap music, pornography, and dancing also play their part, with the film subtlety showing how all of these things help shape a young woman's perception of their role in society. The film speaks to a culture that pushes woman to grow up as fast as possible, with Lila deciphering sex as a right of passage, a gateway to being a grown-up. These days I find most "coming of age" stories by-and-large uninteresting due to the abundance of them in indie filmmaking but what Hittman achieves with It Felt Like Love is compelling, a coming of age story that speaks to the inherent problems of societies objectification of woman.
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