Love with an Improper Stranger

lilaIt Felt Like Love” is about a confused 14 year-old Brooklyn girl (Gina Piersanti), who wants her friends to think she is as sexually active as her 16 year-old best friend Chiara (Giovanna Salimeni). Her sad, often pathetic, attempts to accomplish this are presented without sentimentality but also without painting anyone as a victim or villain.

Like most great films about a young woman’s sexuality (and this is definitely one of them; Lars Von Trier’s current “Nymphomaniac” is another) it makes one think about the minefield that is adolescence: jealousy, debasement, peer pressure, inadequate medical advice, parental judgement — and that’s on a good day! Frankly, I don’t know how anyone survives it.

Lila more or less stalks Sammy (Ronen Rubinstein), a college boy she wants to hook up with. He’s not interested (“Is there something you want from me?”), yet lets her join him and his buddies while they smoke weed and watch porn. “I’ve considered it [pornography] as a career choice,” she tells them. “The hours are good and so is the pay.”

She and her bestie, Chiari, take dance classes which seem aimed to prepare them for a career as background dancers in rap videos. Even though they are competitive with one another, they have a code of ethics. When one of them asks the other for help, the other says “I would do it for you.” After Chiara’s sweet sixteen, the two girls go to another party. Lila gets drunk and gets into bed with Sammy, passed out after having sex with another girl, hoping he will think he had sex with her. Chiari breaks up with her boyfriend and gives her friendship ring to Lila, who wears it to impress Sammy. Reputation is more important than experience? As the kids say today, epic fail. Read more