“Winter Spring Summer or Fall” review: Jenna Ortega’s feathery romance

With a premise about young love, two charismatic protagonists and a title like Winter Spring Summer or AutumnTiffany Paulsen’s reporting is likely to draw vague comparisons to that of Richard Linklater. Before sunrise (and sequels). But while it’s highly unlikely to achieve that canonical status, this film ventures into some pretty distinctive territory thanks to Wednesday stars Jenna Ortega and Percy Hynes White. Their genuine chemistry and grounded performances give the feathery story just the right touch of weight.

Premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, Winter Spring Summer or Autumn aims to offer Generation Z the kind of romance that encourages them to be offered to every generation: the unlikely match at the center of An unforgettable walk; the musical pairing of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist; and, as mentioned, the most emotionally risky and formally adventurous Before movies.

Winter Spring Summer or Autumn

The essential

A steamy love story grounded in authentic performances.

Place: Tribeca Film Festival (story in the spotlight)
Cast: Jenna Ortega, Percy Hynes-White, Marisol Nichols, Adam Rodriguez, Elias Kacavas, Evangeline Barrosse
Director: Tiffany Paulsen
Scriptwriter : Then Schoffer

1 hour 37 minutes

The film follows Remi (Ortega) and Barnes (White), two New Jersey teenagers who fall in love over the course of four seasons. They meet in winter on a train trip to a strange version of New York; this city has a well-funded subway, working trains with brand new seats, and an express stop on 92nd street. Barnes approaches Remi first and the two spend an afternoon joking around. A minor bicycle accident lands Remi in the emergency room, where she rejects Barnes’ offer for a date despite all the fun she had. She believes that her future cannot include “someone like him.”

Exactly what that means is shaky. Barnes is more of a sketch than a fully fleshed out character. We meet him as a rebellious teenager, a nondescript teenager, obsessed with music and content to live in the present. When Rémi asks him about college, he shrugs at the thought. Everything is cool – even flirty – until their relationship begins in earnest. A winter rejection leads to a spring fling on prom night. Information about Barnes is pouring in: an itinerant childhood, a military nurse mother, no relationship with his father.

He nevertheless remains in the shadows, especially if we consider the role that his past plays in the dramatic turn of the film. We wonder about his relationship with his mother, his relentless pursuit of Rémi and much more. Part of that nagging curiosity is attributable to White’s strong performance. Here, as in 2024 Sundance Charmer My old ass, he plays a love interest with much more to offer than a pretty face. In the summer, when Barnes and Remi begin dating, we get a glimpse of a consideration and dimensionality that energizes the couple’s relationship. But…

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