Joshua Dysart’s review published on Letterboxd:
Two pretty great kids make horror media on and around a lake one summer.
Thirteen year old Bastien is cool for his age. Quiet, smart, observant, funny, a good dancer. And for most of the movie, or for the fun part of the movie, at least, he does an admirable job in the face of experiencing his first older woman, 16 year-old Chloé.
Chloé has irrupted into puberty while Bastien is just on the threshold of it. Chloé is a constant mystery to Bastien, and he digs it. He generally manages to play it cool and sweet, manages to keep her laughing (the most important thing) to the point where they’re eventually brushing their teeth together in mock domesticity.
He’s certainly twice the amicable and kind lad that the other young men in the movie are... the 19 year-old douchebags that live or are summering at the lake.
But of course, as sweet a kid Bastien is, he does still fuck it up, cause he’s 13. And because that’s how movies work.
And he fucks up in a way that is EXACTLY how I fucked up with a very kind person when I was EXACTLY 13 - which is by telling a stupid fucking lie to other males. So when that happened in this it felt pretty close to home and it hurt to think of the real people I'd hurt myself. Which, I guess, is one of the marks of a good flick. If it makes you flinch at your own failings, something truthful has hit that screen.
But I’m not sure I needed it to go full gothic at the end. It’s a choice, but the genre shift as payoff felt a little imposed after all of that lovely character work and delicate naturalism. And I’m not even sure I believe the Bastien I’d been presented with throughout the movie would’ve done the thing the story wants us to believe he does at the end.
However, the ending was composed and executed beautifully and the natural ambient vibes that characterized the whole movie really ramped for a pleasing set of images and sound at the end.
There’s nothing worse to my American ears then hearing an American accent speaking English in a non-english language film. In this movie there’s one particular fucking guy, I guess his name is Bryan, Chloé’s mom’s boyfriend. He’s bellowing all around these poor French Canadians in every scene he’s in. It drives me bonkers. I’m sure it’s just the self-hating American in me.
I do like how the parents and all the other adults are barely in this movie at all. Even in the scenes that the adults are in, they’re never the focus of the shot. They’re shot past, shot around, or shot in wide. They’re like the adults in a Charlie Brown cartoon.
Joseph Engel and Sara Montpetit, the two leads, are fantastic. The whole movie is theirs.
I liked it, and was impressed with the directorial finesse, but it also kept me at a distance and left me pretty ambivalent about the ending.