It Felt Like Love (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

August 16, 2014 by  


“It Felt Like Love” is a combination of all those awkward emotions people felt about sexuality and how far one would go to be experienced. Natural, insightful and real, “It Felt Like Love” is recommended.

Images courtesy of © 2014 Kino Lorber. All rights reserved.

DVD TITLE: It Felt Like Love


DURATION: 82 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 1:85:1, 5.1 Dolby Digital

COMPANY: Kino Lorber


RELEASE DATE: July 29, 2014

Written and Directed by Eliza Hittman

Executive Producer: Tyler Brodie, Hunter Gray, Gill holland

Producer: Eliza Hittman, Shrihari Sathe, Laura Wagner

Associate Producer: Molly Gandour

Cinematography by Sean Porter

Edited by Scott Cummings, Carlos Marques-Marcet

Casting by Henry Russell Bergstein

Production Design by Sarah Maiorino


Gina Piersanti as Lila

Giovanni Salimeni as Chiara

Ronen Rubinstein as Sammy

Jesse Cordasco as Patrick

Nick Rosen as Devon

Richi Folio as Justin

Case Prime as Nate

Kevin Anthony Ryan as Lila’s Father

Fourteen-year-old Lila (Gina Piersanti) is embarrassed by her sexual inexperience, while her pretty best friend Chiara spends her summer making out with her new beau. Eager to prove her desirability, the shy and retiring Lila focuses her attention on local lothario Sammy. She approaches him with clumsy come-ons, and Sammy swats her away. But Lila keeps pushing into the world of Sammy’s hyper-macho friends, where sex is less about exploration than intimidation and power.

“It Felt Like Love” marks the feature film debut for filmmaker Eliza Hittman.

Known for directing short films, Hittman’s first film has received critical praise for it’s naturalistic coverage of the discovering of teenage sexuality thanks to its performance by young actress Gina Piersanti.

“It Felt Like Love” was released on DVD courtesy of Kino Lorber in July and revolves around a 14-year-old Lila (portrayed by Piersanti) who is spending her summer being the third wheel to her best friend Chiara (portrayed by Giovanna Salimeni) and her boyfriend.

Each time she watches the couple, she sees how intimate they are with no care in the world and makes Lila think about her sexual inexperience.

After meeting Sammy (portrayed by Ronen Rubinstein), she tries her best to get him to think about her sexually but Sammy is not interested.  She finds herself getting closer into the world of Sammy and his buddies who look at her like nothing but a sexual plaything.

But how far will Lila go to have a sexual experience?


“It Felt Like Love” is presented in 1:85:1 and the cinematography by Sean Porter captures summer in South Brooklyn with efficacy.  From the local seaside, riding on the train and showcasing the uneasiness of sexual experiences, Porter is able to capture that on camera.

The picture quality looks good on DVD (and as best as one can expect on DVD), with no major artifacts or any major problems during viewing.  Audio is 5.1 surround sound and is dialogue-driven.  Dialogue is crystal clear and understandable.


“It Felt Like Love” comes with the following special features:

  • Forever’s Gonna Start Tonight (15:34) Filmmaker Eliza Hittman’s 2011 short film about the day of a girl who lives with her father who is in danger of being evicted because he keeps bringing in cats and getting away with a friend to enjoy a night at the club and what happens afterward.
  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by Eliza Hittman (note: audio commentary is found in the audio selection).
  • Image Gallery – A still image/photo gallery from the film which one can view via remote (or mouse/keyboard).
  • Theatrical Trailer – (2:02) The theatrical trailer for “It Felt Like Love”.

“It Felt Like Love” is a film that you really don’t see being made often.  After all, it deals with teenage sexuality and many films or even television shows tend to show the repercussions of teenage sex, may it be teen pregnancy or being with the wrong person and getting involved with the wrong crowd.

But filmmaker Eliza Hittman did a much job, focusing on reality, natural experiences that people feel and while not biographical, Hittman has said the film conjures up the emotions that she felt as a teenager and about sexuality.

The film relies on the uneasiness of its protagonist Lila, portrayed by Gina Piersanti.  And the emotions that Hittman was able to get out of her and bring out that uneasiness but it’s what brings out the natural emotions of the film.  Using young inexperienced talent also made the film feel real.

May it be Lila’s relationship with her friend Chiara, her coming-of-age relationship with her father or her young but mature neighbor, the film seems rather natural but yet the film is about the lack of comfort that Lila is going through and her observations of people and sexuality.

Cinematography by Sean Porter was also done well as it captures the humid summer of South Brooklyn.  The summer humidity, the location shots, everything comes together quite well.

But “It Felt Like Love” is subjective as the exploration of teenage sexuality can be easily seen as natural, but the film does push the boundaries of what some people may be comfortable with and will surely make some people quiver as Lila does go on a dangerous path to discover her own sexuality.

But once again, these emotions that Lila experiences are all natural, as many of us probably knew people like Lila.  People wanting to not feel left out, not wanting to be someone that is inexperienced, one-sided love and it is quite uncomfortable, but that’s what this film is about.  Those emotions that people feel, that awkward feeling and some people find ways of dealing with those emotions and self-realization.

As for the DVD, “It Felt Like Love” also features a fascinating audio commentary from Eliza Hittman and also her last short film which is also well-made.

Overall, “It Felt Like Love” is a combination of all those awkward emotions people felt about sexuality and how far one would go to be experienced.

Natural, insightful and real, “It Felt Like Love” is recommended.


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