When one mentions Indonesian movies, only one thing comes to mind: they make friggin' scary horror movies.
But one director decided to change that - by making a movie that would touch on several sensitive and highly taboo topics: teenage pregnancy, unprotected sex and yes, the subject of abortion.
'Dua Garis Biru' is a coming-to-age movie that follows two high school teenagers, Bima and Dara, who after a moment of passion, would have to deal with a life that is unimaginable for two 17-year-olds: pregnancy.
With a baby on the way, both Brim and Dara would have to deal with angry parents, social stigma and an uncertain future.
You would think that there would be a huge uproar over 'Dua Garis Biru', but on the contrary, the movie turned out to be a massive hit when it was launch in Indonesia in July.
To date, a total of 2.5 million people
have caught the film in Indonesian cinemas, so it must mean that it's really good, right?
We caught a special screening of the film and here's what we think: there's a good reason why it's one of Indonesia's best films of 2019.
If you're still on the fence about catching 'Dua Garis Biru' in the cinemas, let us help you make up your mind:
WHAT WE LIKE:
#1 The no-nonsense storyline
The story for 'Dua Garis Biru' is pretty simple; it's about two teenagers in love who went too far and now, they would have to face the consequences. Despite it being an Indonesian movie (hence they use Bahasa Indonesia), the plot is very simple to follow.
We appreciate that the movie is straight to the point, from A to B, without any unnecessary plot twists or drama. It starts with both Bima (Angga Yunanda) and Dara (Zara JKT48) as naive teenagers, before a moment of passion fast tracks their lives into adulthood and eventually, parenthood.
Along the way, they would have to deal with the sort of things pregnant teenagers would have to deal with: the disapproval of the society, the wrath of their parents and the uncertainty of their future.
The director, Ginatri S. Noer, managed to tell that story in just two hours, and to touch on such sensitive topics -- especially in Indonesia -- while maintining the message she wants to deliver, is no easy feat.
#2 Proper character arcs and progression
From the get-go, you will follow Bima and Dara's journey of being students in a school, getting knocked up and forced to grow up to become parents. Director Ginatri did a fine job giving Bima and Dara time to build their characters.
Bima was a slow-learner in school, with little chance of attending a first-class university. At home, his parents are retirees, and they struggle to make ends meet. Dara, on the other hand, comes from a high-achieving and well to do family, so naturally, her parents Rika and Dewi (played by Lulu Tobing and Rachel Amanda respectively) have high hopes for her.
Throughout the movie, you'll get a sense of how both characters would change when they're forced into parenthood. Bima would have to grow up and start earning money to support Dara and the baby, while Dara would have to give up her dream of furthering her studies in Korea.
For young and upcoming actors such as Angga and Zara, they actually did a pretty convincing job as struggling teenagers trying to make it work. Both Angga and Zara have pretty good chemistry together.
At the end of it, it gives you plenty of reason to root for Bima and Dara (but that doesn't mean we endorse unprotected sex, 'kay?)
#3 The subtle humour
Another thing we truly appreciate are the comedic moments in the movie. They did not come out as forced, and they are subtly inserted to break the tension when things gets a little bit slow (we'll get to this later).
Cut Mini Theo, who plays Bima's mother Yuni, is the comic relief in the movie. Her sarcastic wisecracks are total laugh-out-louds, and we're pretty sure you'll enjoy them as much as we did.
There are also some scenes that would make you burst into laughter, so don't worry; 'Dua Garis Biru' is not the OMG-it's-the-end-of-the-world type of cryfest (although we have to say, there are scenes that will make you tear up).
WHAT WE DIDN'T LIKE:
#1 Slow at some parts, rushed at others
We don't have many complaints about the movie, but one thing we think it suffers from is pacing. As expected from a coming-to-age movie that deals with heavy, sensitive topics such as teen pregnancy and abortion, it can't be rosy all the time because that would just mess with the message that the film wants to send.
Because of that, some parts of the movie are really slow. We know that you can't really rush some important scenes, but a couple of them drags on a little bit too long.
And here's the other problem: when the movie picks up, it feels a little bit too rushed. To be honest, we couldn't really remember the sequence towards the end of the movie, because it just went by in a blur. It almost felt like the director just wanted to tie up the loose ends as fast as she could, before wrapping up the movie.
Speaking of the ending, we're not really a fan of that too, simply because it -- like we mentioned above -- seemed rushed, and it feels unsatisfying.
#2 Dara lacks flesh
...and we don't mean that she's skinny. We actually meant that more could have been done with Dara's character.
Throughout the movie, we follow more of Bima's journey (we have to get this out: hats off to Angga because he carried the character so well); from struggling in school because of the whole incident, to taking up a part-time job to support his family, to eventually sacrificing everything for the baby.
Meanwhile, for Dara, we felt that she's just...there. Compared to Bima, we don't see a lot of her struggles of becoming a teenage mom. But don't get us wrong; there are some scenes that would jolt you a little bit, but we felt that it's not enough.
If 'Dua Garis Biru' is supposed to be a 'warning' to teenagers to not engage in unprotected sex, Dara should be the 'poster girl', as if to say, "Hey girls, you think it's fun? Wait until you see what happened to Dara."
Guys will relate to Bima's struggles and hopefully that would deter them from making the same mistake, but we would have loved if the spotlight was on Dara's struggles as a teenage mom more.
Overall, 'Dua Garis Biru' is a solid coming-of-age film. Watching this film as a working and responsible (ahem!) adult, we truly felt that we dodged that whole teen pregnancy bullet.
To see what Bima and Dara have to go through because of one silly mistake, we felt for them, and thus, this would mean that the messaging of the film works.
So, stay safe, boys and girls.