Set in the summer of 1994 as they prepare to leave for various colleges, Gene and his group of theatre-loving friends gather for one more sleepover party.
Whilst Gene, played by Nick Pugliese, is our lead and we see the evening through his eyes, it’s a true ensemble piece that works because of the pure talent and chemistry between the 5 core friends. The group are conservative, religious drama geeks who debate whether or not they have led closeted lives before they branch out to the real world.
Gene is struggling with his sexuality, something it is clear that friend Oscar is also not ready to confront. Claire is naively in love with Gene, Rose is almost puritanical and wants to keep order at all times despite her dramatic flair and Ally just wants everyone to be honest and grow up.
At times the film felt more like an extended episode of a teen drama than a film, but this only adds to its charm. Within the first 10 minutes, the gang descend on Rose’s house in full Victorian literature costuming – instantly telling us everything we need to know about them internally. When an acquittance ends up delivering their pizza, it throws a wrench in the works as he calls out various personality traits of each participant, insecurities then understandably floating to the surface.
The film takes place over one night however due to a bouncy script and the energy from the cast it’s engaging and fun. Whilst it is drama-filled, there’s plenty for audiences to relate to, whether they have outgrown these awkward teenage years or are still there themselves. It’s a film about the inevitable changes of growing up, of loosening the bonds that tie us together and of accepting not only each other but ourselves.
Fun direction within the one house setting, beautiful design down to period touches and superb costuming, it’s a well-crafted and enjoyable film that showcases a lot of talent I hope to see in future projects.
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