There comes a time in any bloggers life when she is driven by a force outside her actual preference of movies – meaning, I saw The First Time purely because I adore Dylan O’Brien. Then again, it was nice to just get out of that routine of seeing only huge Oscar movies and get back to my much lighter and romance filled teenage years. But even then, although I enjoyed some elements and was gushing over O’Brien (you have to be a girl and a fan of Teen Wolf to understand this obsession at this point), there were a lot of aspects that bothered me immensely.
What The First Time tackles is quite obvious after the first 10 minutes or so – it’s about losing ones virginity and therefore the title of the movie. We have two main characters, Dave (Dylan O’Brien) and Aubrey (Britt Robertson), who meet right in the beginning and end up in her room. Yes, it’s fast and annoyingly written but luckily they don’t rush things to a degree where they kiss or have sex for the first time. No, the movie doesn’t take things that fast which ends up to be a silver lining amidst the fast story building: they get together again, make out and all that jazz until they decide to get under the covers for the first time. Now, there’s that element I actually enjoyed because it was so awkward in so many ways that it felt realistic!
Realism is quite hard to capture in terms of romance and teen-love, I mean, it’s an hour and thirty minutes, how much actual teen drama you can cramp into that time period? Probably not a lot, considering teens are very complicated by nature and well, The First Time really doesn’t capture those characteristics in the best way possible. What it does capture the best, is the first time which feels fitting considering it’s what the movie is all about. For Dave and Aubrey the first time is awful and for the viewers it’s funny in all its mishaps and inability to succeed – which I think is refreshing in terms of teen-flicks. But then again, the singular aspect of the movie doesn’t make up for its weak writing and unnatural plot development.
As I already said, the story develops way too fast and it wants to tackle so many things at once. We have supporting characters who don’t really give anything to the story: Aubrey’s boyfriend is just a brick and Dave likes his gorgeous best friend. While the question of why is this girl is even dating this brick will never be answered and though Dave’s best friend seems delightful for the most part, they don’t take her anywhere. Even after she starts a very personal conversation with Aubrey – a complete stranger to her at that point – we won’t need that information. That leads to another issue, these teens talk about their intimate personal issues to strangers as if it was so common. I get the fact that some plot information needs to be expressed through dialog but everything doesn’t have to be so god damn literal with teen movies. Teenagers aren’t stupid, they would get symbolism and they are able to read between the lines, give them the benefit of the doubt and write screenplays with less emphasis on giving all the possible information through dialog.
Therefore, I can pretty much state that I have grown out of teen flicks and The First Time wasn’t going to take me back to the simpler times. I was annoyed at times but luckily I was able to switch off and enjoy Dylan O’Brien. Yes, he is a big reason why the rating is so high but I also wanted to give the movie a better rating for its realistic element. That, and the fact that even though I’m grown out of my teenage years, I think current teenagers would actually enjoy this movie a lot. Those who aren’t focused on logic and are still driven by romance will most definitely like The First Time a lot more than I did. And then there are the Teen Wolf O’Brien fans who will see The First Time multiple times because they are finally able to enjoy Stiles shirtless!0
I was thinking of watching this, mainly because of Craig Roberts and Maggie Elizabeth Jones. Although I’m familiar with the actors, I’m not fond of Britt Robertson, and based on the trailer, it feels like she already played that role in a series. Based on your review, I think I’m considering skipping this one.
Not a fan of Britt as well but I watched it for Dylan so.. I tolerated Britt.
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