A young Lithuanian woman learns about the healing power of love in The Summer of Sangaile, a movie that ultimately is about as shallow as that central theme sounds.
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Lesbian coming-of-age tales can be sensationalistic and leering, but this film (directed by a woman, Alanté Kavaïté) casts a sensitive eye on the understated story of Sangaile (Julija Steponaityté), a shy, troubled girl who begins a relationship with the more ebullient Auste (Aisté Dirziuté).
Writer-director Alanté Kavaité's film is a string of softly weaved pictorial metaphors steeped in reverie.
It’s all very heady and voluptuous, but it’s also painfully superficial.
At its best, The Summer of Sangaile captures the special intensity of those relationships in which everything seems to fade away save for the other person.
Distractingly lovely to look at, the film can't make Sangaile's struggles or triumphs matter. Its soaring conclusion feels anticlimactic, the story drifting off into air.
Awash with ripe, voluptuous summertime imagery and brimming with aborning adolescent female sexuality, The Summer of Sangaile is an appealingly simple, poetically conceived teen coming-of-age tale.