Carlota’s Diary (El Diario de Carlota 2010, Spain), based on the novel El Diario Rojo de Carlota (Carlota’s Red Diary), opens with a scene we all remember well. That failed attempt at a first time that marks the future romantic liaisons we endeavor upon in our adult lives. From there on, laughs ensue, tenderness runs rampant and teenagers do what they will: explore, experiment and execute poor judgment. Throughout the film, it does not pretend to be something it isn’t and in its absent poignancy lies a sincere and authentic portrayal of teenage life.

Hormones all a rage, it is a comedy that is a bit of a sendup of ‘80s American teenage comedies, in the vein of John Hughes and lesser examples. It also employs the tactic of the voice-over, that serves as landmarks throughout the “we need to lose our virginity now” saga. This subjective narration is a bit Sex and the City with all the neurotic misadventures of a Bridget Jones’s Diary. The only difference is that it’s a teenage girl who is in desperate need of figuring out what the big deal is. Her friends are a mousy comic book nerd and a thinks-she-knows-it-all mini vixen.

The film’s central relationship is that the three girls balance ripping on each other with confiding in one another. There are characters that are extremely familiar: the nosy, smart ass little brother, the clueless parents, the miserable teacher, the bad boys and the nice guy who is 1% endearing and 99% spaz. There is also the obligatory hot jock who receives all the very vocal swoons and appropriate close ups.  In its usage of slapstick comedy hides an almost sardonic honesty.

The young cast is not necessarily the best of actors, but they’re definitely trying their best, which becomes more than enough. Frankly, this isn’t a movie that calls for stellar performances. However, it is clear that they show much promise and will wow in their future careers.

Although it has larger than life situations, a teenager could definitely see themselves reacting in a similar way if they were in their shoes. For all the comic intrusions there is a level of acceptance that the audience will more than likely have. The one problem is the music. Often times, music can make or break a film, but it definitely serves a subordinate purpose to the whole feeling of the movie.

All in all, what the movie reflects is that no matter the decade, continent or language, teenagers will be teenagers and that when it comes to their handling of sex and relationships, it is universally awkward.

Spanish with English subtitles, 2010
Dir. by Jose Manuel Carrasco
Wednesday, April 6th, 6:00pm
Thursday, April 7th, 8:45 pm
Sunday, April 10th, 4:00pm
Landmark Century Centre Cinema | 2828 N. Clark St. | 773-509-4949

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