The Hottest State

This is without a doubt, my favourite film of the festival so far. It tells the story of William, an aspiring actor, who meets and falls quickly and madly in love with Sara, a seductive singer/songwriter, just a few days before his 21st birthday. William convinces Sara to come away with him to Mexico, while he works on a feature film. During their time away, William becomes completely and utterly devoted and obsessed with Sara. They are both caught up in the giddy flutter of young love. However, Sara goes home early, and by the time William gets back to the women of his dreams, she has decided that the relationship is over. William is devastated. His perfect world comes quickly crashing to a halt. Having never experienced the pain of love and heartbreak, he takes things a little hard (well, really hard), and ends up fleeing home to Texas in search for answers. Yearning for someone to love him the way he loved Sara, William’s journey to his birthplace forces him to come to terms with his own past. This is a coming of age tale of first love and heartbreak, but it’s also the story of a wounded young boy searching for a father he never knew. I guess what made this film so special for me, was that it felt so real. As someone that’s in the same age bracket as the characters in this film, I can honestly relate to them and recognised a lot of the emotional patterns they went through. Everything in this film felt so authentic and close to home. William’s tragic descent into desperation and despair, and his increasingly chaotic and manic behaviour, although slightly scary, felt perfectly understandable, and although the scenes were he left messages on Sara’s answering machine were extremely uncomfortable to watch – you could understand why William was leaving them, even though you knew he shouldn’t be. From the beginning of this film, you knew where everything was heading. The reality is that all of this stuff happens on a day to day basis. Young lovers are constantly going through these exact same scenarios. This is what made this film so interesting to me. I could relate to it, and although I didn’t necessarily learn from it – it was nice to know that this kind of situation is normal, and is all part of growing up. The acting in this film was phenomenal. Mark Webber, who played William, and Catalina Sandino Moreno, who played Sara, has an amazing chemistry in this film. When they fall in love – you honestly believe that the actors are in love. When they break up, the tears and frustration are so real, that you completely forget you are watching a fictional film. The soundtrack in this film was also a highlight. It really complimented the emotion of the scenes, in much the same way as in films such as Garden State. Visually, the film looks absolutely beautiful, with a very country USA tone to the images. As I said, this is by far my favourite film of the festival thus far.

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