Girls and women begin their sexual lives in as many ways as there are girls and women, so any filmic depiction of burgeoning female sexuality that doesn’t take place in a softly lit upper-middle-class bedroom is entirely welcome.
Eliza Hittman’s It Felt Like Love follows working-class Brooklynite Lila (Gia Piersanti), a 14-year-old who’s tired of being the third wheel to her sexually experienced friend Chiara and her boyfriend. Wanting a taste of adulthood herself, Lila pursues an older boy she meets at the beach.
Afterward, Chiara asks, “Did he do something?” “I don’t know, it’s kind of a blur,” Lila responds. “Did you sleep with him? Is he your boyfriend?” Chiara persists. “No, but it’s kind of better than a boyfriend, you know?” Lila answers knowingly, mysteriously, maybe self-delusionally. It’s that confusion and ambiguity that give this Sundance selection its emotional power and moody atmospherics.
Hittman’s coming-of-age drama will open on March 21.
Watch the It Felt Like Love trailer below: