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‘Kulari Ke Pantai’ discusses today’s teen struggles

Jessicha Valentina
Jessicha Valentina

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Mon, June 25, 2018  /  07:02 pm

Indonesia’s dynamic film duo, director Riri Riza and producer Mira Lesmana, are back with a family friendly movie after a 10-year hiatus with Kulari Ke Pantai (I Run to the Beach).

Slated to premier on June 28, the film follows two cousins, Sam (Maisha Kanna) and Happy (Lil’li Latisha). It opens with Sam, a 10-year-old girl who lives on Rote Island, East Nusa Tenggara, and surfs in the ocean every day.

For the upcoming holiday, Sam has planned a road trip around Java Island with her mother Uci (Marsha Timothy). Prior to the road trip, she will make a quick stop in the capital and meet Uci’s family, including Sam's cousin Happy.

Twelve-year-old Happy is the opposite of Sam. She is a typical urban teenage girl who spends too much time on her smartphone and obsesses about her appearance. Sam and Happy used to be close, but are now drifting apart.

Realizing Happy’s current behavior, her mother (Karina Suwandi) asks Uci to include Happy in their trip. The trio soon embark on their journey, starting from Cirebon, West Java, and heading to G-Land, East Java, where Sam plans to meet her idol, surfer Kailani Johnson.

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Their trip prominently showcases the natural and cultural beauty of Java Island, including a Chinese temple in Semarang, Central Java, a hidden beach at Desa Limasan, East Java, and Mount Bromo in East Java.

The journey will inspire audiences to explore the island by car. At the same time, it also reminds children and their parents that they can have fun without going overseas, as there are many beautiful places to see in the country.

Kulari ke Pantai also touches on teen issues, such as acceptance, peer pressure and the importance of family. Although the film sums up today’s teen struggles, it does not provide any closure, making it hard for young audiences to learn the values behind them.

The young actors display a natural chemistry. Marsha perfectly presents a responsible yet loving mother-slash-aunt character. Meanwhile, Maisha showcases a lively island-girl character flawlessly, making the audiences forget that the actress is actually a city girl.

However, Sam’s dialogue makes Maisha appear too mature for her age. As for Lil’li, she portrays a teenage girl naturally with her naïve and impulsive behavior.

Let’s not forget about Dani (Suku Dani). His thick Papuan accent and anecdotes are scene stealers.

The film is entertaining for both adults and children. While children can learn some family values from the story, the adults are being reminded of current phenomena, such as English speaking Indonesians and the obsession with taking selfies.

Despite its refreshing idea of presenting local destinations in the film, Kulari Ke Pantai is too blatant in its product placement and sometimes makes you feel like you are watching a commercial.