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  • Writer's pictureBen Turner

Take Me For A Ride **

Starring: Samanta Caicedo, Maria Juliana Rangel, Diego Laranjo, Patricia Loor

Director: Micaela Rueda

For some people, their teenage years were carefree rose-tinted halcyon days, but for others, their hormonal angst-ridden years of self-discovery were a time when they really FELT things. Ecuadorian Drama Take Me For A Ride definitely depicts the latter, depicting an emotionally repressed teenager as she struggles to overcome her own internal barriers to allow herself to be happy.

Sara (Caicedo) is the weird-kid at school. Withdrawn and solitary, she hates her classmates and they hate her. When new girl Andrea (Rangel) starts at her school, she finds in her a friend who genuinely wants to get to know her. But as their friendship develops into something more, Sara is unable to reconcile her yearning for privacy with the public nature of a relationship with another person. And as people begin to find out about their relationship, she cannot handle the reality of being out of the closet and the temporary fame it brings.

There is an earnestness about Sara that makes for a pretty unlikeable protagonist. Brow-beating and sombre, she has found coping mechanisms for the way she feels about herself. Taking herself away to secluded spots, reading, studying, living in enduring silence; all are symptomatic of her low self-esteem. But as she is so wrapped up in herself, her Achilles’ Heel is that she finds it impossible to believe that someone could love her for the way she is. So when their relationship meets its first crisis, she absolutely cannot allow trust to overcome self-hatred.

Unfortunately, this is a film in which not a lot happens, stretched out across a runtime of only 68 minutes that feels more like two hours. Their time at school or with their respective families is relatively without drama, with even the bullying somewhat muted and seemingly only a response to Sara’s abrasive hermit-like behaviour. The feeling between the girls is intense enough, but with all the barriers in Sara’s head, this doesn’t make for either entertaining viewing or a compelling character study.

The narrative clearly functions as a metaphor for Sara’s personality; restrained and economical in its approach, the film places much emphasis on tiny moments, focusing on minutiae with great significance… which makes for pretty boring viewing after the twenty minutes. The story – and the film’s composition – is over-ambiguous and depicts an emotionally repressed girl by being emotionally repressed in itself. There is a lot of truth within it, but that falls subsidiary to a laboured and contrived delivery.

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