Young & Wild impresses from the get-go by establishing itself as an indie film that is going to be as raw and real as that independence would imply. Telling the story of Daniela (Alicia Rodríguez), a teenage girl going through her own sexual awakening, all while documenting her thoughts and experiences on her blog, Young & Wild manages to be so frank you want to think it’s entirely fiction, but likely more common than I would imagine.
Daniela’s sexual yearnings are not without constant obstacles, however. She comes from a very Evangelical household, and after a scandal breaks out in school about her supposed sexual tryst with another student, Daniela is sent to work at an Evangelical TV station to keep her on the path of spiritual cleanliness. Which would be a fine idea, if Daniela didn’t find herself equally attracted to her two co-workers Tomas (Felipe Pinto) and Antonia (María Gracia Omegna).
Marialy Rivas’ film doesn’t mince words or imagery, creating a hyper-reality that hinges on Daniela’s blog entries and sexual adventures. Whether everything we see, or that she shares, can be assumed to be true is up to the audience (I mean, she is entertaining her blog regulars). Additionally, for all its sexual themes, the film keeps that innocence inherent in a young person, man or woman, exploring the questions of their own sexuality.
Which brings us to Alicia Rodríguez’s stand-out performance of Daniela. She pulls off powerful and worldly, seemingly at all times confident in her life and her own choices, though we still know that she is a young woman, perhaps committing loudly to bold choices in an attempt to be confident while she remains as fearful and confused as so many of us.
It’s a performance of multiple layers and emotional dichotomies that is most easily related to when in the early stages of adulthood, which is partly why, even when things feel hyper-real, that you can’t help but connect with them.