Molly Manning Walker’s debut film is a high-energy and entertaining ride, filled with charming performances and absurd humor. The story follows three teenage girls as they embark on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the party destination of Malia in Crete, while also trying to avoid thinking about their upcoming exam results, which could be texted to them by their parents at any moment. The standout performance comes from Mia McKenna-Bruce, who portrays the shy and complex Tara with subtle yet intriguing shifts in emotion. As the girls’ pursuit of sex takes center stage, Tara’s journey becomes even more meaningful. Manning Walker skillfully navigates the film’s tone, building towards a crisis before pulling back from it.
Tara, also known as Taz, and her friends Skye (played by Lara Peake) and Em (played by Enva Lewis) arrive at a resort hotel on Malia’s main street. They book a room with a view of the pool. At night, the street is filled with bright neon lights and drunkenness, while during the day it is eerily empty, reminiscent of a setting for a western gunfight.
One morning, after a particularly bad hangover, Tara is sitting on her balcony when she notices a young man on the balcony next to hers. This man is Badger (Shaun Thomas), who is spending time with his friends. He can sense that Tara is feeling lonely and desperate for sexual intimacy. However, Tara is not willing to simply have sex with anyone – she wants the experience to be with the right person. Unfortunately for Badger, he unintentionally puts himself in the friend zone with Tara in many ways, and there is a complicated dynamic between them where they both may desire friendship more than anything else. It is Paddy (Samuel Bottomley), Badger’s more attractive but insensitive friend, who ends up taking Tara for a walk on the beach one night. Meanwhile, another connection is forming between Em and a gay girl named Paige (Laura Ambler) in the boys’ room.
As Paddy’s situation progresses, amidst the constant parties and events hosted by overly cheerful robotic representatives, the true nature of the resulting event is uncertain and the title itself has multiple meanings. Skye playfully asks Tara about her experience, wondering if Paddy was rough with her. But did he really? Does Tara want to remember it that way? Or does she want to forget it altogether? The issue of consent is unclear. The film suggests that Tara’s thoughts after sex are a personal negotiation: should she let it go and move on? This film is refreshingly unsentimental and avoids typical coming-of-age cliches. In the end, all three characters come out of the experience stronger and happier.