First Girl I Loved (2016), Dir. Kerem Sanga

First Girl I Loved (2016), Dir. Kerem Sanga
Softball...not Baseball
— Anne, First Girl I Loved (2016)

Stars: Dylan Gelula, Brianna Hildebrand, Mateo Arias, Pamela Adlon, Tim Heidecker, Cameron Esposito, John Redlinger.
Director: Kerem Sanga
Screenplay: Kerem Sanga

A film about the confusing world of first loves with itself holding some very confusing messages. Sanga film though beautifully made—except for a shockingly bad wig—but it somehow adds in character elements that question his choices when discussing some very important topics. The main being about consent and the privilege of privacy. There are actions by our protagonist Anne (Dylan Gelula) and her friend Cliff (Mateo Arias) that leave you with an unsettling feeling; not just in regards to the characters within the film but the implications outside the film.

The film centres around Anne. We are introduced to her taking photos of a softball player who we learn later to be Sasha (Brianna Hildebrand) who she is intrigued by. She tells her friend Cliff and this fact he does not take very well. Sanga uses a non linear way to tell his story, it takes a while to realise that some of its scenes take place far later in the plot than you realise. To understand the full implications of scenes happen later which makes your reading all the more interesting.

Anne befriends Sasha by interviewing her for the year book and they quickly build a connection. They have day long text conversations, inside jokes, and innocent and not so innocent flirtations. It all seems to be heading to a happy conclusion, that is until normal teenage confusion and fear catches up with them.

The feeling of this film is great, it has a really nice pace and the lifted grey and black tones make for a rather pretty film. It does have its problems though, it almost feels like it is missing an act or maybe character development gets lost in the editing. Either way there would have been no harm if it added a couple more scenes either for characterisation or character closure. However the ending we do get is compelling and props to Cameron Esposito for being so compassionate on screen.

★ ★ ★ ★