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OPINION: ‘Spring Breakers’ a misunderstood film

OPINION: Spring Breakers a misunderstood film

Movie Review

By Camila Mendez
Bridge Staff Writer
Published Thursday, March 7, 2024

“Live life to the fullest … Spring Breeeeeeaaaaaak … Spriiiiiing Breaaaaaak forevaaa,” Alien (James Franco) yelled. I envision that Harmony Korine’s film Spring Breakers will be well-known in the future.

Even if you’re unfamiliar with the movie, you might recall when it was deemed a “Disney Girls Gone Wild!” projection. This is solely because Selena Gomez and Vanessa Hudgens, some of Disney’s proteges, star in this crime thriller. If you consider yourself a movie connoisseur, it’s by A24 … another reason to see it if you haven’t.

Camila Mendez portrait
Camila Mendez

This film is about four women, college friends, who urgently decide to get out of town and experience spring break in Florida; however, they need more money for their “dream” spring break. Three of them decide to rob a local restaurant to meet their travel goal.

They travel to Florida and experience “paradise” by partying too hard. It then goes awry, and they get arrested. Perhaps luckily, they are bailed out by a drug dealer, and three of them experience a world filled with crime.

I watched this movie again because it was part of my film studies course assignment. I dreaded watching it again because it did not leave a good impression the first time I watched it years ago. However, I decided to have an open mind. I believe I matured enough over the years to appreciate the sex, drug and violence neon-colored world that is Spring Breakers.

The critics and audience members disagree in their reviews of the film. Moreover, it’s just misunderstood. Nevertheless, I may have a different derived meaning, compared to others, regarding the film due to my own life experiences and life perspective.

I understand this film can reach a specific audience; several might consider it too graphic to watch. It includes controversial content, which is always up for debate. That is one of the reasons I appreciate the film more.

Many might argue for this as a feminist film. Others say it is solely for the male gaze, among other interpretations.

This film is an iconic representation of just some women wanting fun, but an excess can cause dire consequences. Though some of the women achieve happiness by living in a world of crime, Korine makes it seem like a “magical place away from reality” with its vibrant neon-lit aesthetic. At the same time, they go through a character downfall.

I don’t remember the last time I watched a film that brought me flashbacks to childhood. I believe that’s what motivated me to write about this film. It is ironic how a story of some college women on spring break, who go through a character downfall, brought me a wave of nostalgia about an era when I also used to wish I was in a magical place away from reality.

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