Based on a bestselling novel written by Federico Moccia, Netflix’s new Italian series, ‘Summertime,’ boasts an impressive production value. However, it never manages to get out of the shadow of its extremely undeveloped characters and generic premise. In contrast to other highly successful teen shows like ‘Euphoria’ and ‘Love 101,’ ‘Summertime’ falls flat as it barely tries to be anything more than a generic teen romance story. It is elevated a little by the performances of some of its actors but that barely makes up for its lack of compelling content.
Summertime Plot Summary
The series begins with the introduction of the titular character, Summer (Rebecca Coco Edogamhe), a 17-year-old girl, who is trying to find her place in the world and finds it hard to fit in. After some soul-searching, she realizes that unlike the people who surround her, she wants to do a lot more and make a difference in the world. With this, she tries to pave her own path instead of allowing her past to dictate her future.
This is when she meets Alessandro, a badass former biker who grabs life by the horns and defies anyone who tries to question his ways. However, beneath his tough demeanor, he, too, struggles to deal with his troubled past. His tainted relationship with his father and the high expectations of his family often weigh him down, making it really hard for him to regain everything that he has recently lost. But when the two of them get together, sparks fly and they soon learn that despite all of their differences, they are very similar to one another. While they struggle to make their complicated relationship work, their friends and family deal with their own personal dilemmas.
‘Summertime’ is drenched in warm shades of bright, soft reds and yellows. The calming whites and blues of its seaside setup evoke brief spells of hope that make you stick around a little longer than you would want to. Complementing this is its surprisingly good music choices that often turn out to be more scintillating than the shallow love affairs of its characters.
‘Summertime’ is excruciatingly long and its gravely serious tone makes it even harder for you to get past each of its episodes. Despite all of its attempts to deeply develop its characters, the show barely manages to scratch the surface of their budding romantic endeavors. All of its characters just go through these abrupt transformations and more often than not, their decisions are not driven by any logical explanations. The show’s portrayal of the transition of relationships may be subtle, but its lack of relevant “cause and effect” to justify this makes its drama less effective and relationships one dimensional. The characters, at most, are likable because of the decent performances of the cast, but there’s nothing more to them than that.
The only depth and gentleness in its storyline come from Summer’s friend, Sofia, who hardly gets any screen time in the final act. The show also makes efforts to harken back to the pasts of its characters through hasty flashbacks and these, too, seem psychologically flimsy, failing to add more depth to the present arcs of the characters. One good thing about its storyline is its ending. Instead of leaving you with a cliffhanger and dragging its story with another long season, the show brings a satisfying and surprisingly realistic conclusion to all of its existing plot points.
‘Summertime’ tries to sell itself out to teens and tweens seeking guilty pleasure through depictions of cheap emotions, slick editing, and dissatisfying plot twists, but its execution makes it pretty obvious that even its targeted audience will not be able to look past its evident flaws. Overall, considering its themes that revolve around the complicated love lives of its teenage characters, its biggest issue is that it feels rather dumbed down compared to many other similar shows that are searing portraits of real life. This makes it a lot less relatable compared to the genre’s best offerings. And the fact that it fails to embody any form of thematic quality makes it even more disappointing.
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