High school years are special: friends, teenage love and parties make this part of our lives unforgettable. But what about 10 years later? Have they remained friends? Can we forget a heartbreak? “We Started Together” is about all these questions.
Do you know those movie trailers that promise us an amazing movie but about 5 minutes into it, it just feels off? Well, with Hungarian movies, it’s often the other way around. We make such horrendous trailers filled with lame jokes and cheesy dialogues that nobody even thinks about buying a ticket. In this case, it would be a shame, since Yvonne Kerékgyártó’s “We Started Together” (Együtt kezdtük) is the perfect summer movie.
We enter the life of a group of teenagers as they are finishing high school together back in 2011. We get to know all of them well at the graduation party but the focus is on Marci, who’s been trying to confess his feelings to his classmate, Franciska, for many years. As one would expect, the moment is interrupted, messing up Marci’s only chance before moving to London.
10 years pass, and a reunion is in order. Renátó and Juli – both members of the old group – are planning a wedding, without suspecting the hell that’s about to break loose. Apart from two love triangles and other problematic relationships, we uncover the shady pasts, dangerous habits and repressed feelings of the friends who haven’t seen each other in a decade.
“We Started Together” is a great coming-of-age story. Is there anything novel about it? No, and quite frankly, the story itself doesn’t hold many surprises. What does, however, make it great is how honest and authentic it is at times compared to other flicks of this kind. The characters are relatable, the dialogues rarely ever become cheesy, and although there is a good amount of cliché, the tension itself is built up so well that we can easily forget about many of its faults by the end.
Most of the film takes place in the Balaton Uplands, a location that not only has a long-standing history in Hungarian cinema but is held near and dear to Hungarian hearts. The urban scenes of Budapest and London are in great balance to the beautiful countryside landscapes around Lake Balaton, and they not only serve as scenery but also represent important stages of Marci’s life.
The cast includes many veterans, like Zoltán Mucsi, Anna Pálmai, Éva Kerekes and Tamás Jordán, with many young talents making their debut on film, not only adding to the authenticity and mood of the movie but eliminating the many gimmicks of Hungarian theater actors as well. There are better and worse performances, sure, but it all creates great harmony among the characters.
“We Started Together” is a fun adventure that sometimes mistakes drama with creative storytelling – but ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. It uses up all of its shots, without missing a single one – an impressive feat from director Yvonne Kerékgyártó and writers István Boros and Bálint Szentgyörgyi. I’m almost ashamed to admit it but the editing was so great in the end, that I got goosebumps.
"We Started Together" is a fun adventure that sometimes mistakes drama with creative storytelling - but ultimately, it doesn’t really matter. It uses up all of its shots, without missing a single one – an impressive feat from director Yvonne Kerékgyártó and writers István Boros and Bálint Szentgyörgyi. I’m almost ashamed to admit it but the editing was so great in the end, that I got goosebumps.