They say that teenagers scare the living shit out of me…
That’s how the famous song goes – which is more of a rallying cry to adolescents and a mockery of adults who feel the sentiment. But as one gets older, with time frittering away whatever understanding an adult had over that hormonal stage of their lives, it’s easy to be somewhat fearful of the erratic and temperamental teens that populate our lives.
Especially when they are particularly thorny in nature. Yet, still, can we grow to understand them? That’s the aim of Alice T.
Directed by Radu Muntean, Alice T revolves around the titular teenager who is impertinent at best. Adopted by her mother who seems nothing but disappointed in her, so Alice invents a fictitious life which blurs reality for herself too. When Alice discovers that she is pregnant, the friction between herself, her mothers, and her life at school.
The problem with Alice T is that it only gifts its eponymous character some real emotion towards the end. Any attempts to fall into a connection between mother and daughter skims instead of dives deep. It also makes Alice T more prickly than sympathetic. Maybe I am looking at the film from an adult perspective but it’s hard to find a common ground with someone who starts horrible and doesn’t learn much until the final act.
The film also hits a cardinal sin of mine (or something that I am really fed up with): There have been enough films about tearaway teens. This is the biggest problem. Alice is seemingly fearsome for no apparent reason. There’s the implications of being adoption are there in the air – even though her mother Boganda uses the fact to undermine herself and infer judgement from others – but Alice is never really fleshed out and given a rhyme for her actions more so than being a teen who just is awful. One wishes that there would be a film about a teenager who doesn’t do drugs or alcohol or has sex or kicks off. That would be boring, right?
Not necessarily – it just seems with Alice T that these reasons aren’t there. The film struggles pairing the issues with the act and when mother and daughter wind up talking to one another, you wish it’d linger just a little longer to hit.
When the finale hits, your thankful that the film finally gives its lead character some depth and it slams into you hard (even if the closing scene does last a little longer than it should.) The film has terrific performances, particularly by Andra Guti, but it is a hard slog despit it’s good moments.
Alice T is a long slog but it has good moments.