Almost every single person on earth has struggled with distinguishing between who you’re supposed to be, and who you’re not. A coming of age story is relatable to all. It’s the most complicated period of your life.“Hot Summer Nights” proves that we all go through an identical identity crisis.
We all struggle with figuring out who we are meant to be. Which is why when protagonist Daniel (Timothée Chalamet) moves to a new town in an attempt to cope with his father’s death, it’s that much harder for him to find a way to fit in. The hope is that a change of scenery might help Daniel. The audience is taken back to 1991. It was a time when America was hesitant to evolve. The story begins on Cape Cod, where the city and all who live in it are anything but wealth deprived. When the “middle-class” Daniel arrives at his aunt’s place for the summer, it is evident that he is not from the town. The story is narrated by a teen boy who watches the action unfold, quite literally from his bedroom window. We are told that a storm is bearing down on the characters in more than one way.
Even though the story takes place in the early ’90s it feels as though it is in the ’50s. With drive in theaters and local fairs the whole town attends, the social hierarchy of who is who in the town in emphasized. The narrator explains that everyone who lives in the town lived there their whole life. The town can be sorted into townies or summer birds. Daniel however doesn’t fit into either, which is why many are fascinated with him. He is unable to be classified by the masses which adds to his mystery. Daniel is on the road to discover who he is.
One of the town legends is Hunter Strawberry (Alex Roe), a townie who missed his chance to get out and start over. Hunter walks with a James Dean vibe. He has that typical bad boy edge. There are rumors and stories about him, his weed business, sexual history and his infamous sister, McKayla (Maika Monroe). The siblings are known by everyone, but don’t communicate with each other. Daniel ends up being the connecting link between the two.
Daniel and Hunter develop a friendship with one another as Hunter ends up showing him the ropes of the secluded town. Although Hunter is at the top of the food chain in his town, the two end up getting in over their heads with their weed business.
Daniel meets McKayla at the drive-in movies. The aura around McKayla is seductive and playful. In her second encounter with Daniel, she takes a lollipop out of Daniel’s mouth, licks it, and shoves it back between his lips. Hot summer Nights is perfect to watch during one of these summer nights. It’s a summer romance and drama that all can enjoy.
We screened the film at an LA special screening at Pacific Theatres at The Grove. The A24 film is available now exclusively on DirectTV and in theaters July 27th.