“Take Me For a Ride” is an Ecuadorian teen lesbian romance

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Maybe it’s just me, but I think it says a lot about the times we live in that we can now say there’s an abundance of formulaic adolescent lesbian love stories. I find it even more impressive when these formulas cross borders and cultures and still find a home in cinema. Ecuador’s Take Me For a Ride certainly fits that mold.

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As I’ve previously mentioned, Take Me For a Ride is your classic “new girl at school changes everything” story with a lesbian romance at its center. Sara (Samanta Caicedo) is our protagonist and adorable loner. Despite being in her last year of high school, she doesn’t really have any friends and it’s clear most of her classmates find her odd. Then again, she doesn’t find them all that special anyway. Still, it’s a lonely existence until the fates intervene and bring new girl Andrea (María Juliana Rángel) into her life.

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Sara is immediately intrigued when she first spots Andrea in class, but it’s only when she wants a smoke and finds Andrea in her usual hiding place that the two get to talking. Sara very quickly warns Andrea that if she wants to fit in and just have an overall easier year, she should ignore her. But to her credit, Andrea very confidently tells her, “What I need right now is some action.” Well, she’s going to get it!

From there a friendship is born, fuelled by a mutual love of books and philosophical wonderings. These two really are so different from everyone else around them. You get the sense that they’ve been waiting for each other their whole lives.

It’s a bit of a slow build to romance, but that’s never a question for the audience. The occasional intense look and an almost kiss lead up to some handholding at a concert and then, finally, a kiss. And it’s one hot kiss. So much so that kissing in a dark club corner wasn’t enough. These two were like, “Let’s continue kissing outside because the lighting’s better and what could go wrong with kissing in public?” Gosh, don’t these two read my film reviews?

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In any case, that’s not their main concern right now. In the light of day, Sara’s in full-on lesbian panic mode. Some sexy flashbacks reveal that these two did more than just kiss and she doesn’t know how to handle it. So they don’t talk, and it’s devastating for them both.

It’s so obvious that Sara desperately misses Andrea. It’s no surprise then that she eventually breaks and reaches out for forgiveness. Fortunately for her, Andrea’s in a forgiving mood. But the bliss is short lived. Come on, you didn’t think it was going to be that simple, did you?

Someone’s posted photos online of the two girls kissing. Sara is, predictably, the more upset of the two, but at least she allows Andrea to lovingly comfort her. But this time, Andrea’s going to need her own comforting.

While we never meet Andrea’s parents, we know they divorced when she was 15 and that her life was uprooted because of this. What’s to stop that from happening again? And while Sara’s parents are a constant presence in the film, it seems unlikely that her strict mother will be happy to hear the news that her daughter’s in a lesbian relationship. What’s more, let’s not forget about school. Sara was already the odd girl out, and now that she’s actually out things are not going to get easier. And like she warned Andrea, it’s likely she’s going to bear the brunt of this as well.

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At 67 minutes long, Take Me For a Ride is a relatively short affair and a pretty standard offering. It nonetheless is a sweet story with some incredibly passionate moments. Director Micaela Rueda is surely proud of this effort.

Take Me For a Ride is playing at the Inside Out Film Festival in Toronto on May 29. For news on future screenings, visit the movie’s Facebook page.

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