Set amongst languid summer days filled with hazy teenage ennui, Eliza Hittman’s debut feature It Felt Like Love impresses you right onto the sweat-laden skin of its characters. Told with fearless authenticity, we’re given a unique and unsentimental character study of a young girl eager for maturity and thirsting for her sexual awakening. Focusing on Lila, a lonely and curious 14-year-old living in Brooklyn with her father, Hittman’s film exists in the small but poignant moments of life, allowing us to inhabit the harrowing pains of growing up and the struggle for identity—crafting a refreshingly raw and potent portrait of youth.
Shot with a language that’s as poetic as it is tactile, the behavioral and quiet style of the film is rife with sensory emotion, and washes over you with palpable desperation. Played with dedication and intensity, actress Gina Piersanti takes us through Lila’s summer on Sheepshead Bay, as she sets her sights on conquering the affections of the thuggish older Sammy. But in Lila’s pursuit and over-anxious cries for attention, Hittman illuminates the amount of self-deception and hidden complexities that come to reveal themselves with truly coming-of-age.
Exploring Sexual Awakening, Self-Deception, & Pushing Boundaries With Director Eliza Hittman