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Dear David Review – Of Love, Lust, and Teenage Angst

Dear David Review – Teenage is a strange age to live. As you go from being a child to an adult, you experience not only physical but also emotional changes in you. It is a time when you think no one understands you or is trying to stop you from doing what you want to do. It is a time when the fictional world feels better than reality. You try to make sense of most of what is happening around you, but sometimes it is not so easy.

During times like these, thankfully, there are movies and other media to help you understand better. Netflix’s movie ‘Dear David’ is a coming-of-age story about a teenage girl as she navigates her social life and crushes on her classmate. 

Spoilers Ahead!

Dear David Netflix Trailer

‘Dear David’ Trailer

Dear David Summary

Laras is a teenage straight-A-achieving girl who lives with her mother. Her mother and she barely make their ends meet but live a respectable life in their small town. Laras’ mother is a staunch Catholic and takes her daughter to every religious event there is. They even host a food stall after mass sometimes. But Laras is somewhat of a rebel and she indulges the things that are considered sins by her religion. She has a crush on her classmate David and writes risque fantasy stories featuring her and David. These stories are her outlet for her feelings for David.

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Laras does not share the stories with the world, but one day during her computer class, she logs in to her blog to write a new story. She logs out but it turns out that the process did not go through and her stories are leaked. Laras gets her friend Dilla to date David all while feigning ignorance that she does not have any feelings towards him.

After Laras’ stories are leaked, what follows afterward is a series of humiliating comments, getting outcasted by the peers, and people calling her a devil incarnate. She also loses her friendship with Dilla. The incident turns out to be a wake up call for Laras and it also serves to point out the hypocrisy of the society.

Dear David Review
A still from ‘Dear David’ on Netflix. Image Credits: Netflix

Dear David Review | Dear David Netflix Review

‘Dear David’ is one of the few movies that tackles the delicate theme of sexuality and teenage life with a nuanced approach. Laras, the young protagonist of the movie, is a girl coming from a conservative background. The society she grew up in sees sex as a taboo, and hence any chatter around the topic is shunned. Imagine the plight of a girl in this society when her risque stories are leaked.

The people from her church began shunning her and her mother. Laras’ classmates, who probably have had similar growing-up experiences, call her names and label her an outcast. But then we see that these same classmates boast about their dating life and popularity amongst the opposite sex.

Laras’ friend Dilla is also ostracised by classmates for her risque photoshoots. People around her view her as a sexual object and label her as a loose woman for having done those photoshoots. They never look past those to actually see that Dilla has been suffering because of her personal struggles.

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What the movie tells the audience through Laras primarily is that, it is okay to have desires. It is only human to be curious about one’s growing physique and desires. All these years of keeping things hush-hush has led several people on the wrong path of misinformation and confusion. Sure, Laras did invade David’s privacy by writing stories about him and objectifying him in her stories, but all that was just her way to find an outlet for her feelings.

The movie also touches upon mental health issues faced by teenagers. David has panic attacks which he does not tell anyone about. The only person he initially opens up to, is Laras. David’s panic attacks were triggered more after Laras’ stories were leaked. They affected him as much as they affected Laras. The way people saw David also changed, which was completely wrong. A fictional tale about a living person cannot be held against them, regardless of what the content is.

Dilla, Laras’ best friend, is a lesbian. She comes out to Laras during one of their car rides and also confesses her love to her. Dilla’s life at home is not comfortable because of the estranged nature of her parents’ marriage. She has had to hide behind a veil of bold looks and indifferent behaviour in public to escape her feelings.

‘Dear David’ touches upon the common strains of issues that is often found in teenagers. It is not easy growing up in a world which judges you for every step you take and every decision you make. It is even more difficult when one is surrounded by a community which is not open to change or new ideas. ‘Dear David’ makes a good comment on the hypocrisy in the society and at the same time lends an understanding hand to the teenagers.

JAL gives ‘Dear David’ a solid 3.5 out of 5. Which other movies on similar themes have you watched? Tell us in the comments!

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Nandini Iyengar
Nandini Iyengar
A writer and translator by profession, Nandini is also known for using a lot of pun.

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Dear David' makes a good comment on the hypocrisy in society and at the same time lends an understanding hand to the teenagers. JAL gives 'Dear David' a solid 3.5 out of 5. Read more to know the full review.Dear David Review - Of Love, Lust, and Teenage Angst

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