The Summer I Turned Pretty review: Delightful and realistic

The Summer I Turned Pretty is a teen romance drama series about Belly Conklin, a sixteen-year-old girl who is in the center of a love triangle involving two brothers. It is streaming on Prime Video.

Story

Belly Conklin (Lola Tung), her mother, Laurel (Jackie Chung) and her brother, Steven drive to Susannah’s (Rachel Blanchard) beach house for the summer. Belly and Conrad Fisher’s (Christopher Briney) families spend the summer together.

She has remained in love with Conrad all this time but he has changed. While Conrad’s brother, Jeremiah (Gavin Casalegno) wants more from their friendship.

Meanwhile, Conrad’s mother, Susannah, has persuaded Belly to attend the debutante ball. Susannah, who has been diagnosed with cancer, strives to make everyone’s last summer ideal.

Belly goes to the ball with Jeremiah. They are announced in front of the room and have their photographs taken. The waltz is about to take place but Jeremiah goes missing. He has discovered his mother has cancer and is heartbroken.

Conrad dances in Jeremiah’s place with Belly. Jeremiah talks to Conrad about Susannah but realises Conrad already knew. They fight on the dance floor. The brothers convince Susannah to try the trial treatment and she accepts.

Performances

Lola Tung is fascinating to see. She shines brilliantly throughout, convincing spectators that every aspect of her performance was genuine. Her on-screen chemistry with her love interests, particularly Conrad, is immensely touching.

Jackie Chung is enthralling to witness as a protective and nurturing mother and closest friend. She eloquently represents all of the complex emotions that her character, Laurel, goes through.

Rachel Blanchard does an outstanding job portraying her role as a compassionate mother who is going through a lot both physically and mentally.

The actors that play brothers Conrad and Jeremiah Fisher, Christopher Briney and Gavin Casalegno, are excellent in their parts.

Positives

Jenny Han and Gabrielle Gail Stanton, the show’s creators, have done an amazing job weaving the plot in a charming and captivating way. The writing is both heartfelt and engrossing. It never feels forced, which adds to the series’ allure.

Each character, particularly the protagonist, Belly, has been developed in such a way that the young audience would identify with her. Belly’s relationships with her love interests, Jeremiah, and Conrad, have been written realistically throughout the series. The writers have maintained the characters’ emotions realistically while highlighting the intricacies of their relationships’ issues.

Between-episode transitions are smooth. The seven episodes series is directed by three directors. The difference in creative thought processes typically results in a difference in the outcome, especially in a visual depiction, yet the series glides through the sequences without a hitch.

The show is shot in such a manner that you feel like you’re right there with them on the beach, strolling down the winding road to the Atlantic Ocean. Cousins Beach is an important aspect of the plot. The setting of the series is excellent.

The music, on the other hand, is constantly captivating, well suited to a summer-ready teen or summer love.

Negatives

In comparison to other coming-of-age shows featuring a love triangle, the series isn’t very unique or out of the box. It attempts to be more than a conventional rom-com, though.

The dialogue is cringe-worthy at times. Other times, it is simply incomprehensible. Unfortunately, Belly’s voiceover is uneven and repetitious throughout the series, rarely providing anything that is already not known from Lola Tung’s facial expressions.

With the majority of the show’s audience bound to be youngsters, the creators should have done more to combat the social media-fueled obsession with appearance and status that is shown in the series.

Verdict

The Summer I Turned Pretty is a must-see and binge-worthy series. With its fantastic music tracks, it will undoubtedly inspire you to create a playlist.

Rating 3.5/5


Also Read: The Summer I Turned Pretty summary and ending explained