I was pleased to be offered a chance to screen and review the film “Summertime” before its official release into theaters this month. The film showcases the poetic works of 27 youth spoken word poets over a day in Los Angeles, and through these artistic expressions of life as a young person navigating today’s world, we are taken on quite a journey.
Directed by Carlos López Estrada, “Summertime” takes an approach to storytelling that I hadn’t ever really seen in a film. It follows one character and then connects them to another in some way or another to create an anthological approach to experiencing life. Through the visual beauty of the film and the stories told through spoken word, we see people experiencing and expressing themselves in completely different ways, all while being connected to the city they share. The pieces of poetry we hear throughout the film range from expressing self-identity to heartbreak and desire. I felt the approach taken to share these stories was beautifully done, and the imagery that accompanied them was fantastic.
Going into the film I quite honestly was prepared to sit there watching a black stage with a rotation of young poets walking up to a mic reciting their slam poetry and leaving only for the next person to come up and replace them. “Summertime” is anything but that. I genuinely think it offers something for everyone. It’s art. It’s freeform and yet structured in the same stroke. I believe it definitely appeals more so to a generation fixated on the fast-paced and “vibey” aesthetic of experiences, but I also think that older generations can find beauty in it as well. Through its broad scope of topics and interconnected characters, it leaves you feeling like you’ve gotten only a taste of something yet at the same time you’re completely full.
I loved the way the film was set up. I found it to be a gorgeous relay of self-expression full of creativity and the passionate liveliness conveyed through art by a generation navigating their way through the 21st century. I think my only possible qualm with the film could be that some of the editing choices seemed to be a bit out of place, but in a way, it kind of added to the character and warmth of the film.
I found “Summertime” to be lively and moving in so many different ways. I always feel that the best movies are those that evoke something in the viewer that makes them feel alive and hopeful, those movies that leave you craving a zest to your own life. For me, this movie definitely did just that. “Summertime” will be released in theaters everywhere today, July 16 of 2021.
My final rating of “Summertime” is 9.5/10.