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Perfect coming-of-age feature August at Twenty-two screens at the 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival on June 9


By Lauren Bromberg

originally published: 06/04/2023

Perfect coming-of-age feature August at Twenty-two screens at the 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival on June 9

August at Twenty-Two is about the mistakes and lessons we learn in our emerging adult years, a messy and beautiful era filled with parties, talking to your best friends in funny accents, sexual exploration, babysitting gigs, asking parents for rides, apologies, and practicing self-love and forgiveness. Beautiful and bubbly, Cal Davidson graduated from college no more than three months ago. She is now spending her first almost adult summer in New York City making several mistakes when reuniting with old friends, forging new situationships, and kick-starting her career as an actress.

The chaos begins as Cal dolls herself up to attend a party with Jacob, her best friend from high school with whom she has not spoken in a long time. She brings her caring best friend from college, Bobby. Cal seems surprised by Jacob’s longer hair and new girlfriend, Emily, a down-to-earth photographer.

Within no time, Cal is hitting it off with Emily. They begin spending every day together, taking pictures, talking about their dating history, and smoking. Emily jokes about how she is a bad influence on Cal. After a drunken night with Emily, Cal shows up to an acting audition off her game. Cal justifies to Bobby that this is okay because she is working on other artistic endeavors, and because it is “important to align yourself with successful people.” Bobby takes offense that Cal might not view him as a successful person. He tells Cal that she really needs to “work on her shit.”

For no good reason, the more time Cal spends with Emily, the worse of a friend she is to Bobby. For example, when Bobby shows up to an art exhibit to support Cal, who takes off to a bar with her new friends, abandoning him. Cal starts hitting it off with Jacob’s brother at the bar, even though Jacob does not like the two of them together.

About halfway through the film, Cal, Emily, and Jacob eat a meal together on the couch and Jacob realizes that his parents have flaws they are aware of but do not want to change. Jacob asserts that we should always be striving to improve our flaws, to which Cal responds, “I feel like that would be exhausting.” This quote is perfectly representative of Cal’s stagnant mindset about her career and relationships.



 
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The film gets juicy at a party after another infamous Jacob-Emily argument when an emotionally unstable Cal leads a night of drunken mistakes. From then on, Cal makes strides to “work on her shit” by aiding her single most important friendship, focusing on her acting, and practicing bringing herself joy.

I view Cal as a very likable character because of her cheeriness, attention to detail when caring for others, and desire to establish herself, despite her consistent mishaps. I believe such mishaps are forgivable and that they are part of growing up. At Cal’s audition, she even sings, “Confusion is half of what love is about,” which I appreciate is very relevant to the plot of the movie.

I especially like the special attention the writers give to Bobby’s performance song. He sings, “Cleopatra, my queen of denial, what could I have done to make you see? I've watched you make the same mistake over and over again. By now I know when to stand clear.” These lyrics represent Bobby’s perception of Cal’s development: even though Cal wanted to help her, he knew that self-growth is ultimately something Cal needs to do for herself.

Overall, the likable characters, relatable plot, and playful conversations made August at Twenty-Two very genuine and enjoyable to watch. August at Twenty-Two screens at the 2023 New Jersey International Film Festival on Friday, June 9. The film will be Online for 24 Hours and In-Person at 7 PM in Voorhees Hall #105/Rutgers University, 71 Hamilton Street, New Brunswick, NJ. Tickets are available for purchase here.

 

 



 
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