In classic coming-of-age fashion indie flick “Crshd” follows the life of a college Freshman, Izzy (Isabelle Barbier,) entering her first summer break still being a, you guessed it, virgin. Izzy and her two friends Anuka (Deeksha Ketkar) and Fiona (Sadie Scott) attend a “Crshd” party at their college where everyone gets an invite by their name being submitted as a crush who was chosen by a classmate.
When Izzy finds out she is invited, her main goal ends up being to finally lose her virginity. Where Anuka and Fiona seem to have an easier time discovering their sexuality, Izzy struggles with endearing awkwardness. She has her eyes and heart set on her classmate Nolan (Abdul Seidu,) but ends up fumbling around making unsuccessful attempts at getting his attention when all Nolan really seems interested in is his music and DJ-ing.
Writer and director Emily Cohn obviously took some notes from “Superbad” (2007) and “Booksmart” (2019) when constructing “Crshd” which is her first feature and a selection from the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. The film follows the same general plot line as the aforementioned, a friendship trifecta and a virgin amongst them, and I even sensed a small hint of “Can’t Hardly Wait” (1998) mixed in. That being said, this piece really lacks in originality. As a viewer who enjoys teen movies and coming of age stories, and understands there is a certain formula they all follow, this one just doesn’t stick.
The characters are all pretty stereotypical, and there isn’t really any depth here. The actors are young and mostly miss the necessary gravitas to carry an actor driven piece, there wasn’t really a strong anchor that kept the film interesting to watch. The script could have used polish, and the plot fell especially limp in the middle. Izzy never reached an ultimate character arc or had a clear resolution or lesson her character learned, it ultimately left me with a what’s the point feeling.
Regardless, Cohn cleverly interlaces the use of dating app swiping and social media in “Crshd” which I found refreshing. All teens are plugged in in the modern age, and weaving in the fact that teens have their phones nearly glued to their hand at all times is usually distracting and difficult, but Cohn found a way to make it work.
That aspect and the bright neon color grade reminded me of the film “Nerve” (2016) where the phone worked as its own character against a Miami vice splashed palette. The cinematography from DP Saaniya Zaveri was a treat, it really fit the overall vibe of the film and gave it a fun feel.
Though Cohn has potential as a filmmaker and will hopefully have a superior sophomore venture, I’m not sure where “Crshd” can go from here. It could have hit a stride with the youth, but I think the lack of a unique actor, the muddled script, banality, and slow pacing will wither away the potential it had to reach them.
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