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Tribeca 2024 Winner Is a Comedic Gem


Tribeca 2024 Winner Is a Comedic Gem


A precocious 14-year-old playwright discovers his sexuality and alienates everyone around him while falling for a witless slacker handyman. Griffin in Summer will have you rolling in laughter with its sublime portrayal of a disaffected youth. It cleaned up at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival by winning the Best U.S. Narrative Feature, Best Screenplay in a U.S. Narrative Feature, and a Special Jury Mention for writer/director Nicholas Colia, who’s masterful in an astonishingly good debut. Adolescence can be a tough time to find yourself. It’s especially difficult for a raging narcissist with a hilariously inflated ego.




Griffin Plafly (Everett Blunck) takes the stage at the Borwood High School talent show. He boldly announces a snippet performance from his upcoming play, “Regrets of Autumn.” Jaws hit the floor as teachers and students get their first taste of the incredibly salacious and adult material. Griffin returns to his suburban house with big plans for the summer. He’s got a rigorous, 60-hour weekly practice schedule for his director and cast, aka friends. His forgiving bestie, Kara (Abby Ryder Fortson), thinks that’s insane but placates Griffin’s absurdities. He’s well-liked and coddled despite being haughty and demanding.


Helen (Melanie Lynskey), Griffin’s mother, who he calls by her first name, has problems galore. His father (Michael Esper) has been gone for a long time. She’s tired of explaining to anyone who’ll listen that he’s supposedly on an extended business trip. The pool and backyard are a wreck. She doesn’t have the energy to clean it up between marriage woes, Griffin’s needs, and bottles of Chardonnay with an anti-depressant mixer. Helen decides to hire Brad Rizzo (Owen Teague), a neighbor’s struggling son, to fix the disheveled house.


Griffin in Summer Is Full of Great Characters

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Griffin in Summer (2024)

4.5/5

Release Date
June 6, 2024

Director
Nicholas Colia

Runtime
1h 30m

Pros

  • There are several laugh-out-loud moments in Griffin in Summer.
  • The film’s pacing is tight and expertly crafted.
  • Everett Blunck is fantastic in the lead role.
  • Griffin in Summer nails its third act.
Cons

  • If Blunck’s character doesn’t click with you, then the film will drag along.

Griffin is infuriated when Kara and the cast inform him that they can only practice on weekends. Even worse, she has a new boyfriend and will be gone for a few weeks. Griffin’s stewing gets worse when booming rock music blares from the backyard. How can he write with that awful distraction? He stomps downstairs to chastise Brad but freezes in his tracks when finally meeting the noisy nuisance. Griffin’s instantly smitten with Brad’s hipster tattoos, sculpted physique, and bad boy countenance.


Colia, a celebrated graduate of NYU’s prestigious film school, packs a narrative powerhouse in a lean 90 minutes. His first act brilliantly establishes every character and their relationship with Griffin. Colia frames his protagonist as someone who knows exactly what he wants. Griffin will leave Borwood in the dust, move to bustling New York City, and conquer Broadway as a famed playwright. The little people around him are just steps on the path to glory. They need to do Griffin’s bidding and be appreciative of his obvious genius.

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Griffin’s writing is a coping mechanism for his conflicted emotions. Helen’s marital woes are the initial source material for “Regrets of Autumn.” She honestly doesn’t understand how to connect with her son. Helen’s default response is to remain hands-off. This leads to Griffin developing an unhealthy obsession with Brad right under her nose. What begins as his first taste of queer attraction balloons into something much more addictive. Brad, a stunningly bad performance artist, becomes Griffin’s all-consuming source of happiness and unknowing muse.

Griffin in Summer Is a Big Winner at Tribeca


It’s important to note that the moronic Brad has the IQ of a lead pencil. Like Helen, he doesn’t have a clue about Griffin’s mad crush. Brad’s a selfish lout who’s completely oblivious to the fawning teen’s true motives. This is where Colia’s script hits a comedic home run. Brad and Griffin spend a lot of time together, and neither character realizes the other’s intentions. Griffin’s worship makes him feel important as an artist, plus the kid’s a good source of free booze and cash. Brad exploits Griffin’s friendship as an affirmation of his lost dreams. Teague is absolutely hilarious playing the fool. You can imagine his gobsmacked reaction when the truth finally sinks into a thick skull.

Blunck, a seasoned young actor with multiple theater and film credits, is superb in a complex leading role that anchors the film. He’s involved in pretty much every scene. The show falls apart if you don’t believe all facets of Griffin’s personality. Blunck is magnetic, grating, laugh-out-loud funny and forlorn at the same time. You genuinely feel for him when his world comes crashing down.


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Colia doesn’t brand Griffin as an unlikable know-it-all. He’s similar to the character of Sheldon Cooper in the hit series Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory. Griffin can be rude and obnoxious but engenders warmth from everyone in his small circle. His mother and friends give him latitude because he is special. Griffin learns a tough lesson about growing up and treating people with respect. The film’s final act, where we finally see the completed “Regrets of Autumn,” is absolutely fantastic. Griffin in Summer is one of the year’s best films and a must-see when it gets national distribution.


Griffin in Summer is a production of Coveside Films, Honor Role, and Tricky Knot. It premiered at New York City’s SVA Theater as part of the 2024 Tribeca Film Festival’s US Narrative Competition. Watch this space for more information about its wider release.

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