Review: La Virgen de Agosto (The August Virgin)

Title: La Virgen de Agosto (The August Virgin)
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Jonás Trueba
Starring: Itsaso Morena, Joe Manjón, Isabelle Stoffel, Mikele Urroz
Runtime: 2 hr 9 mins

What It Is: A young woman, Eva (Itsaso Morena) decides to stay in Madrid for the summer, unlike the many inhabitants of the city who all leave during the hottest (and loneliest) month of the year. In a lively town during a vibrant summer, she encounters old friends and lost loves that serve as past reminders, while also discovering new relationships and future desires.

What We Think: I’m a sucker for these types of films, from Before Sunrise to Call Me By Your Name, I’ve always enjoyed stories that offer a glimpse into a character’s life, without a typical 3 act structure, while also being a mesmerizing and euphoric experience. This film is no exception, being that I found myself completely entranced within its opening minutes, making it one of my favorite films of the year. I’ve seen the film twice now, and I really have no issues with… anything. The story itself takes a very ‘day in the life’ approach, which makes the film all the more real and even feels improvised at times. The writing is solid and the conversations that the characters are having make you feel like you’re a part of them, in a very effective way.

With the writing comes to the performances, and they’re fantastic. Every character felt like a real-life person who I would encounter on my way to the supermarket or an old friend I ran into on the street. Itsaso Arana (who also co-wrote the film’s screenplay if I’m not mistaken) brings an incredibly personal and enthralling performance as a young woman who is trying to find her place in the world (yes, we might have seen it before, but it’s a fresh take on the archetype and very much welcome), accompanied by cast members Isabelle Stoffel, Joe Manjón and a special appearance by singer Soleá Morente, who provides some of the songs for the film’s soundtrack. One of my favorite scenes in the entire film is when the main character visits a concert she’s having, and there’s a transcendent moment that I deeply enjoyed, boosted by the terrific performances and moving song that plays during its entirety. The cinematography is excellent as well, a very colorful film that captures the heat and emotions of summertime, as well as youthful ecstasy, which the film already does brilliantly with it’s writing and performances.

What We Think: A, This film was an absolute joy to watch, as it encapsulates what a coming of age film is supposed to do in a fresh and exciting way, with picturesque cinematography, exceptional performances, and a story that is beautifully enrapturing yet very much intimate, all taking place within the beautiful city of Madrid. No te pierdas de esta joya cinematográfica.

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Author: James Snyder