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Review: FIRST LOVE – A Film for the New Year

Review: FIRST LOVE – A Film for the New Year

With December coming to a close and Christmas movies leaving the forefront, you may find yourself searching for something to watch during the holiday season. While you may want to gravitate toward something more festive or celebratory for the end of the year, there are plenty of movies about family and the relationships in your life. "First Love" is a film that explores the balance between doing what's best for yourself and doing what's best for the ones you love, something to keep in mind going into the new year.

Writer-director Michael Masarof's feature debut stars Annie Heise as Rebecca Rosetti, an actress who has shut herself into a hotel in Venice Beach. Her twin brother Matthew (Aaron Costa Ganis) comes to Los Angeles ready to sell his tell-all book when the publisher asks for more "tidbits" that expose their relationship. He struggles between selling the story and relaunching his life that fell apart in New York and protecting his sister and getting her back on her feet.

The two try to connect and catch up for the 15 years they lost and reasons for their estrangement come to light. While doing so, Matthew learns more information that could be used in his book to make it more appealing, which makes his choice even harder.

Amin El Gamal and Malin Barr also star in "First Love" as people for Rebecca and Matthew to connect with and use as distractions before facing the real issue. Arye Gross is featured in the film as Matthew's connection at the publishing company.

Although the story may be hard to watch at times, the beautiful cinematography helps. Even in moments of silence, the story deepens and the plot continues. The sense of Rebecca and Matthew's troubled relationship can be seen right off the bat with scenes without dialogue. Flashback shots reveal their relationship has always been like this, with Matthew offering his help and Rebecca adamantly refusing it, but allowing his presence. Although the exact circumstances may not apply to everyone, the tone and overall themes of the film make it relatable.

While the film doesn't scream "family" film, it's about the bond of these twins and trying to find how they fit into each other's lives. It highlights the process of deciding what is important in life and how it's not necessarily an easy decision. It's a story about real humans.

"First Love" was acquired by Indie Rights in October 2019 and released theatrically in Los Angeles before becoming available digitally on Amazon Prime.

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