Absolute Beginners (2023) review: Teen drama’s realistic approach gets tiresome

In Absolute Beginners (2023), two young aspiring filmmakers develop an intimate relationship with an athlete who joins their film. The series is now streaming on Netflix.


Childhood best friends Niko and Lena are filming a movie to get into film school. Lena has feelings for Niko, and she attempts to get close to him during the shoot.

Niko rejects all of her advances. Their friends and family can clearly see Lena’s love for Niko and even warn him not to keep her hanging. Niko’s rejections make Lena feel that she is not attractive enough.

Everything changes for them when they save Igor, a basketball player, from drowning. While Niko feels attracted to Igor, Lena sees Igor as someone who can become a crucial part of their film.

The feelings that they develop for each other over the course of the film’s shoot will make or break their relationship with each other.


Martyna Byczkowska, as Lena, Bartłomiej Deklewa, as Niko, and Jan Sałasiński, as Igor, highlight the inner turmoil of their characters impeccably.

There is a side that they show outside and a side that their characters have inside. These characters are constantly wrestling with the emotions and decisions that they are making.

The three leads come out as three distinct personalities, and their friendship feels real, which is quite important for this drama.


Absolute Beginners is deeply rooted in realism. The drama that the viewers get is neither portrayed as too much nor too little through music or any means. It’s a beautiful reflection of youth and the complexities present at that age.

The series never touches on the generic tropes present in coming-of-age dramas. There aren’t big twists, and the lives and challenges of the characters take the viewer back to when they were young. Meanwhile, the younger generation will relate to these characters.

The cinematography is at its peak. It immerses a viewer right from the beginning when Niko and Lena climb down to the beach. It makes viewers notice the beauty of beaches, the waves of the sea, and a lot more.


As realistic as it is, Absolute Beginners can also be heavy and unexciting at the same time. Despite being a heartwarming tale, the tension that should be built around the complex relationships feels missing, even if the show avoids the drama that is expected in many other romance dramas.

The pacing is a big issue, and when unnecessary subplots that don’t amount to something are added in, the show becomes dull. Especially the finale, which is longer, is very slow, stretched, and has little development.


Absolute Beginners stays true to the portrayal of youth, dreams, and exploration of oneself. However, this realistic approach fails to bring out the emotions or reactions a viewer should have while witnessing a moment.

The film definitely stands out from most coming-of-age dramas, but, at the same time, it’s not the most entertaining one either.

Absolute Beginners
Absolute Beginners (2023) review: Teen drama's realistic approach gets tiresome 1

Director: Kamila Tarabura, Katarzyna Warzecha

Date Created: 2023-10-25 12:30

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: Absolute Beginners (2023) summary and ending explained

More from The Envoy Web