My Summer as a Goth (2020)

A young woman comes of age by trying a new lifestyle in the directorial debut of actor and producer Tara Johnson-Medinger.

After the passing of her father, Joey Javitts is not enjoying herself and things are about to come to a head when her mother is gearing up for a summer book tour. Joey is forced to spend the summer with her eccentric grandparents Jonah and Margaret. As soon as she arrives, she feels a bit uneasy. That is, until she meets Victor Ireland, a young goth boy who lives next door. Victor instantly eyes Joey and Joey finds herself attracted to him.

When Victor introduces Joey to his friends, he decides and convinces her to adapt to his goth lifestyle. Joey agrees and soon enough, she is in love with Victor. During a night out at a cemetery, the duo run into Antonio, a nice guy who isn’t too thrilled about Victor and his lifestyle. To make matters worse, Joey’s time with Victor is taking its toll on her grandparents as they decide that she needs time apart from Victor. Soon enough, the relationship begins to slowly takes its toll on Joey. Will Joey be able to overcome the obstacles that she deals with throughout the course of the summer?

Coming of age films are quite interesting because they have a chance to offer something very fresh to the genre. For this film, director Tara Johnson-Medinger and Brandon Lee Roberts came up with something fresh. The idea of a teen who overcomes her grief by changing her lifestyle. The film interestingly shows an against-stereotype of the goth lifestyle as it is believed that goth represents only shades of darkness and depressive nature. However, for our central character, it helps her overcome so much.

Natalie Shershow is the film’s breakout as lead character Joey. The opening of the film shows her at her depressive state as we learn that her father suddenly has passed. We see how unhappy she is when she goes to a high school party and leaves early. It is once she meets the goth Victor, played by Jack Levis, that we see Joey begin to evolve not just from a physical point of view with her adaptation of the lifestyle, but we see her begin to become more happy despite a few objectionable choices that worries her grandparents. Speaking of the grandparents, there is a hilarious brief scene where Joey wakes up to find her grandfather wearing nothing but an apron as he cooks breakfast.

Levis’ Victor sees Joey as a muse if you will. He helps her adjust to the lifestyle but throughout the course of the film, one can tell something just isn’t right about him. And of course, while Joey is head over heels in love with him, Victor somewhat looks as if he doesn’t see Joey the same way. It is as if Victor is a goth version of Andy Warhol and Joey is like a Viva or an Edie Sedgwick. In a way this is very heartbreaking and overwhelming, but the big picture is that it helps Joey in terms of getting over her issues and her confidence levels go on the rise throughout the film.

My Summer as a Goth is a really good coming of age film where we see a young woman’s evolution from depressed and sad to happy and confident through a lifestyle that is stereotyped for the former. Natalie Shershow delivers a breakout performance with Jack Levis as her “Warhol” goth boyfriend. A wonderful indie film to check out.

WFG RATING: B

123Go Films presents a Little Miss Anomaly production. Director: Tara Johnson-Medinger. Producers: Tara Johnson-Medinger, Brandon Lee Roberts, and Megan Clare Johnson. Writers: Tara Johnson-Medinger and Brandon Lee Roberts. Cinematography: Lauren Guiteras and Moira Morel. Editing: Emily von W. Gilbert.

Cast: Natalie Shershow, Jack Levis, Fayra Tetters, Jonas Israel, Eduardo Perez, Sarah Overman, Sophie Giberson, Jenny White, Gregory Miller, Carter Allen.

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