Review: For as long as history repeats itself, an endless generation clash would always be an intriguing topic to ponder on. No matter how much technology or lifestyle or virtue have changed, the fundamental difference which always leads to rift between older generation and younger one has never ceased to exist. Basically, that discourse is emanated through Upi’s My Generation, despite its retro-millennial presentation.
My Generation deliberately and solely takes the younger generation’s stance in this all-out generation wars. As young blood runs hot, we are taken to observe how the film’s millennial protagonists—Zeke (Bryan Langelo), Konji (Arya Vasco), Orly (Alexandra Kosasie) and Suki (Luthesa)—become the anti-hero, the victim and the antagonized party at once. The older generation, represented by teachers and parents, is depicted as the villain and the judge. The youngsters start the film defeated… but, that doesn’t mean they’re finished. “No one can stop us!” they exclaim.
The film’s strongest aspect is its stance, claiming to be a present for millennial generation. Upi amplifies the rebellious spirit as a means of criticism to parental conservatism. Zeke, Konji, Orly and Suki literally never stop proclaiming their anti-rule ‘revenge’ by doing everything they like during their disastrous holiday. The first half of the film is undoubtedly a brutal and unapologetic roller-coaster of boiling teenage blood trying to have as much fun as if they live in Richard Linklater’s Dazed and Confused. In doing so, Upi adorns the film with vibrant, inter-generational pastiche from posters to jargons to fashion to music, resembling MTV’s millennial zeitgeist (which contradicts with the film’s presentation of the protagonists, which often appear as Generation Z member, instead of millennials).
There’s a shade that the film embraces the idea that generation war is a cycle that keeps repeating itself. However, the film seems persistent in taking its stance as a ‘present to millennial generation’ hence the whole point of the film feels unsympathetic at some points; therefore, the film’s weakest aspect is also how it takes the stance in this clash. This whole point results in a series of hasty resolution, which almost comes as a mere realization without follow-ups. The film’s setting which is cramped in a single holiday season makes it less tangible.
For whatever flaws the film has, the casting isn’t one of them. Exploring fresh takes with new coming-of-age talents is My Generation’s biggest gamble, but it ultimately pays off. Langelo, Vasco, Kosasie and Luthesa craft electric bonds between them to make the film’s chemistry an enjoyable show. The newcomers blend in pretty well with senior performers which portray parental figures. With little polish here and there, those four names might become the next big thing in a season or two.
In final verdict, My Generation’s persistence in having so much fun as a criticism to conservatism is basically a present to everyone who is still and/or has ever been young. Just because the film bears the millennial zeitgeist, it’s never a mere present for the millennial generation; and the film’s overly strong allegiance to that idea is its descend. Given the film’s 17+ rating, the message might not reach Gen-Z, as the film’s allegedly targeted audience; therefore, it’s safe to say that it’s a general celebration of youth for everyone, not necessarily millennials.
My Generation (2017)
Drama Written & Directed by: Upi Starred by: Bryan Langelo, Arya Vasco, Alexandra Kosasie, Luthesa Runtime: 106 mins