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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

The First Time
Directed by Jonathan Kasdan
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 10/12 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG-13 - mature thematic elements including teen sexuality, partying, language

Try to remember all the time you spent imagining what sexual intercourse would feel like and how it would change your life. Recall the inane talks you had with friends about the mysteries of this formidable event in your coming of age and the attempts of your parents or others to explain it to you.

Now bring together all the negative and toxic views against having sex outside of marriage by the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Sex is often presented as a sin, a test, and a terrible sorrow, burdening the act with large doses of guilt and fear of being punished by God and sent to Hell to burn forever.

How can having sex the first time be a loving, kind, exciting, and extraordinary experience when it is overshadowed by our own high expectations, the myths and gossip of our peers, the abstractions and embarrassments of our parents, the guilt and fear instilled in us by religion, the unreal portrayal of sexual allure and passion presented by the media, and the selling of perfect bodies by the fashion and advertising industries?

Writer and director Jonathan Kasdan has vividly captured and conveyed many of these emotions in this appealing movie about the mix of feelings two teenagers confront as they move toward the pivotal act of losing their virginity.

In the alley behind a house where a party is in progress, high school senior Dave (Dylan O'Brien) is infatuated with the unattainable Jane (Victoria Justice) and is rehearsing lines to get her attention. Aubrey (Britt Robertson) stumbles upon him mid-rehearsal. She is dating Ronny (James Frecheville), a musician wants to have sex with her in his van and not much more.

Dave and Aubrey make a solid connection with each other and find it very easy to talk and share their intimate feelings without fear. He walks her home and she invites him in where they carry on their conversation, then fall asleep together on the floor. When he wakes up, Dave makes a swift exit.

He shares his adventure with his buddies Simon (Craig Roberts) and Big Corporation (Lamarcus Tinker) who respond quite differently to their friend's experience. On Saturday night Dave, Aubrey and Ronny are at the same movie theater. Dave's upset to see Aubrey with Ronny because he knows the musician only has one thing on his mind.But he decides to be patient and see what happens next.

Writer and director Jonathan Kasdan has drawn out two authentic and engaging performances from Dylan O'Brien and Britt Robertson as the teenagers destined to lose their virginity with each other. The film is refreshingly free of the trench mouth humor of so many recent youth comedies. We care about Dave and Aubrey and wish them well.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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