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REVIEW: Spring Breakers, including Toronto premiere photos

Posted on September 9, 2012 by

Selena Gomez provided my favourite insight during the Q&A portion of TIFF’s Spring Breakers premiere. She said: “It’s really hard to find a teen movie that tells the truth and shows what’s raw and real.”

I can’t say I personally know anyone my age that funds their hedonist exploits by robbing and threatening to blow the f*cking heads off customers at fast food joints with booze-filled water guns. But director Harmony Korine is painting a broader portrait of a selfish, Jersey Shore-loving generation that becomes young, wild and free completely disillusioned during their “break from reality.” And we sure as hell all know college kids like that.


Faith (Selena Gomez) is a Jesus-thumping undergrad who is disillusioned by the banality of her life. She eagerly follows her childhood friends, played by Hudgens, Pretty Little Liars’ Ashley Benson and Korines’ wife Rachel, on their illegally funded spring break vacation to Florida.

While Faith is encouraged by her “spiritual retreat” — even wishing to make her pause from reality infinite — her fun is over when the ladies land in jail and meet a cornrowed hustler named Alien (James Franco). Just as Faith’s spring break vacation ends, it just gets started for her thrill-seeking friends.

Three things I loved

The cast

The film isn’t for the faint of heart, nor is it necessarily for Gomez and Hudgens’ fans. The Disney stars smoke bongs and dance alongside breast-baring partiers during their violent and sexual retreat. Teen idol haters might be pleasantly surprised by all the actresses’ adaptability, particularly during some raunchy scenes with Benson, Hudgens and Franco, that couldn’t have been comfortable to shoot… for the girls anyway.

Direction (and see photos from the premiere below)

Though some of the scenes are repetitive and drawn out, Korine’s snapshot is just as he intended — somewhere between a Britney Spears’ music video and Gaspar Noé’s film. At times, it’s difficult to tell if he’s satirizing the booze-soaked, superficial generation or if he’s merely creating a portrait.

Still, I’d love to see his Pinterest-worthy dream board, which included the movie Miami Vice, found images of girls peeing on golf courses (EW!) and a real rapper named Dangerous who inspired the character Alien.


The movie has one of those “OMG I’m going to download that now” soundtracks, which is obvious considering Skrillex scored it. The film includes Top 40 tracks by the dubstep producer, his girlfriend Ellie Goulding (d’aw), Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears and The Black Keys.


Korine’s film isn’t mainstream but it captures the selfishness and disregard for reality that characterizes the “new generation.” Film lovers will appreciate Korine’s direction and might even grant it minor cult status (you know I’m thinking of the cult-esque “Everytime” scene because duh!). Still, Gomez’ younger fans should skip the movie altogether unless they’re abnormally mature and her older fans should go in with an open mind.

Photos from the Toronto premiere (by @NicoleCampea)

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