Teenage Cocktail Film Review
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Love Is Dead
by: Jerry Smith
Young love can be an exciting, adventurous and downright scary experience. Unlike later in life, when every potential relationship we encounter is filled with hesitation and the baggage of what once was, there's something very optimistic and carefree about being young, enthralled with another and completely open to whatever heads your way. The multitude of all those elements are front and center in John Carchietta's TEENAGE COCKTAIL, a film that combines that youthful naïveté with a series of decisions that, like the title suggests, makes for one hell of a drink.
Following Annie (Nichole Bloom), a young high schooler who is both new to school and picked on by your typical bullies, the film does an excellent job of setting us up with a likable character who is very easy to identify with with. Annie is a character that doesn't feel at place with the mother who just wants to be her best friend, the father (Joshua Leonard) who loves his daughter but doesn't know how to properly parent her or her educational home, a school filled with more of the same, despite its principal who does his best to inspire but fails on a daily basis. From that set up, we're allowed to remember how it felt to be at that age and when Annie hides in a school room and sees the carefree Jules (Fabianne Therese) dancing, she, like us, are curiously enthralled.
Striking up a friendship and then love that sets the film's actions in motion, Annie and Jules become as close as young lovers can be: inseparable. In spite of the school's hipster-boys and the unimpressive demands of Annie's mom to scale back their relationship, the pair grow closer and closer, making the revelation that Jules makes money being a cam girl online a development that we as viewers know will not lead to the best results for the underage couple.
While the relationship of the young girls grows and Annie soon joins Jules in her online cam shows for money, we're also introduced to Frank (Pat Healy), a pool man who is ridiculed by his wife for his job, feels alone and lost in his life and you guessed it...spends his time watching the girls via his computer.
As we grow with the characters and see their relationship blossom, we're also very aware that the inevitable meeting of the young and in love Annie & Jules and the depressed and looking for a good time Frank will eventually happen and as a parent, it's a scary idea to ponder. The film does an excellent job illustrating not only that youthful love but also the danger that could come from playing with fire in the form of underage encounters. As the girls hatch a plan to escape everything and everyone in favor of a new beginning, their need for more and more money rapidly grows and when Frank proposes a meeting, both his world and the safety of everyone involved comes into play, providing what it one of the most intense and panic attack-inducing endings around. More like a Molotov cocktail, the film explodes with so many wonderfully shocking and pressure filled happenings, that it becomes not only a realistic story of young lovers attempting to carve out a different path for themselves, but also a cautionary tale that refuses to leave your head for days.