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Young & Wild

by Kilian Melloy
Saturday Jul 13, 2013
Young & Wild

Daniela (Alicia Rodríguez), a young Chilean woman of 17, is caught between a rock and a hard spot: She's from a family of evangelical Christians, but her youthful hormones are raging. Forever scrutinized by her joyless mother (Aline Küppenheim), who berates her if she doesn't show enough hand-raising charismatic rapture during church services, Daniela turns to a blog, where, under the cover of the pseudonym Young and Wild, she writes about her sexual yearnings, fantasies, and adventures.

The phrase "burning bush" never appears, but it might as well. When Daniela writes about her "fiery twat," the blaze of erotic longing she's talking about illuminates her inner struggle. Is she a sinner for wanting sex and thinking about guys' junk? How about those explicit love letters from a former crush, crude missives consisting of little more than phallic doodlings? (Love is sweet, or it's tormented, but it's not always exactly articulate.) Does that stash of pornographic letters constitute an occasion of sin? Or how about the fact that she's actually had sex--oral, anal, just about every which way?

Sex and religion are not always in conflict; some brave souls have sought to celebrate the divine aspect of physical pleasure. Daniela is not quite there; she is, after all, only a kid. But she strives mightily to carve a place for herself and her own feelings in the spiritually claustrophobic confines of her home and her community. When her mother sends her off to work at a Christian TV station for having gotten kicked out of her parochial school (whispers about Daniela having intercourse suffice to get her expelled), she finds a spot of Heaven right on Earth in the form of Tomás (Felipe Pinto), a good-looking guy who also works there.

But that's not all--Daniela also discovers Antonia (María Gracia Omegna), the niece of the TV station's owner. Blogging all the way, Daniela embraces both as lovers. But will she discover that she really is committing sin after sin? Or are the real sins those of jealousy, ego, and judgment, which fly at Daniela from every side? In any case, what will the wages of sin turn out to be?

"Young and Wild" is a smart take on the inner life of a young person coming into her own. The movie isn't as hard on Christians as one might expect; Daniela is, throughout everything, committed to her faith. Her journey isn't away from God, but rather toward a healthy and balanced relationship between her own spiritual and carnal aspects. Moreover, Daniela has an equally faithful, but also free-spirited aunt, who offers the young woman the only form of salvation she needs right at this moment: A little patient understanding.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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