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For many teenagers from well-off families, reaching certain age means a birthday bash and fancy presents.
Film director Nayato Fio Nuala, known for directing as many horrors as dramas such as The Butterfly (2007), tries to put a birthday into a different perspective. In his latest film, 18++ : Forever Love, he highlights the responsibility of being a grown up while spicing it up with romance.
The title itself is akin to his 2010 film 18+ True Love Never Dies, also starring by Adipati Dolken. Though it bears similar title, the storylines of both dramas are totally different, so do not expect a sequel if you have seen “18+”.
Adipati Dolken who previously starred Malaikat Tanpa Sayap (Angel Without Wings) plays Kara, an orphan pampered by his rich his grandfather. Together with his five rich close friends, he spends his days partying, shopping, drinking and racing luxurious sport cars in Bandung, West Java.
Life is good until he wakes up on the morning of his 18th birthday and receives a call from his grandfather (played by Roy Marten) who has a gift for him. His birthday present is not another car, not even close to it. His grandfather, a business tycoon, withdraws all financial support, saying that he is giving him independence as a grown up.
As soon as the phone call is over, Kara looses access to his credit cards and is instantly broke. He goes to Jakarta alone to confront his grandfather but is robbed just as he arrives in the bus station in the capital city.
Kara’s transition from rich golden boy to humble, hard-working man is not too traumatic. Despite all the flashy sports cars and jet-set lifestyle shown in early scenes, it only takes a short time to adjust the drastic change in his life.
The pretty, kind-hearted Mila (Kimberly Ryder) provides a helping hand, rescuing Kara and taking him to her humble house. Mila’s beauty and fragile character is actually good to watch, but a girl with flawless skin and soft makeup selling cakes on foot at the bus terminal is pretty hard to swallow.
Her presence, along with her cheerful little sister, Sasi, and wise mother (Keke Soeryo Renaldi), become the reason for Kara to stick around and get a job for himself. As he settles down to his new life, his best friends from Bandung try to find him.
The movie offers a clear storyline that focuses on Kara’s relationship with Mila, his friends and his effort to become a responsible individual. Some scenes that are intended to be romantic are a bit clichéd and cheesy, but the story is well developed and the music is enjoyable.
The film struggles in the plotline about Sasi’s illness, but alas, where the clues are too obvious and we see it coming from miles away. If you are a lover of romance and friendship, you’ll like this movie.
Verdict: A heartwarming drama flick with a heavy dose of romance and beautiful girls.
— Indah Setiawati
— Photos courtesy of Kharisma Starvision Plus