Goodbye First Love ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Precisely what the title promises (in French it's Young Love) and not much else, an amiable and well-acted portrait of late adolescence and one that feels palpably personal and universal (however specifically European) without possessing any noteworthy insights. Lola Créton and Sebastian Urzendowsky are both wonderful, but neither is much of a character, and the film's beautiful direction and cinematography (by Stéphane Fontaine) is largely dedicated to a poetic extrapolation of lead character Camille's emotional state. Its pain and energy are rather telegraphed; the moment the hip, eloquent college professor Lorenz shows up, you already know he and Camille are going to sleep together -- the hot, aged mentor is like the loaded gun in the first act of a film noir: once it's shown, it has to pop off. There is also a significant scene outside a movie theater that features some of the absolute worst, most generic dialogue I have ever heard in a film. (It could be a bad translation, but from what I could make out with my rudimentary French, I don't think so.) All that said... you can see how the film could push all the right lovesick buttons, and there's an argument to be made that these experiences are worth retelling because they're so familiar. Plus it's awfully pretty.