Spring Breakers Review: Visual Overload But More Entertaining By the Second


It dawned on me last night that I'm getting old. 

Twenty minutes into Harmony Korine's highly-anticipated, controversial Spring Breakers, I felt nauseous. Not because I was offended by the parade of bare breasts, booty shakers, and substance users onscreen, but because the cinematography, oppressive bright colors, and loud music were a lot to take in. At times, I worried I'd have to leave the movie, as it was making me sick, and that showed me just how disconnected I was from the wild characters in the film.

The movie, which is tough to categorize, follows the lives of four college girls in search of something more. They're unsatisfied with the monotony of higher education (just wait until you graduate, ladies!) and decide going away for spring break will give them some much-needed excitement and adventure. Faith, portrayed by the impossibly adorable Selena Gomez, is unlike the rest of the girls, as she's reluctantly dedicated to Christianity and more interested in having fun than causing trouble. The other three, well-played by Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, and Ashley Korine, crave chaos and will do whatever it takes to get it.

So when spring break rolls around and they don't have enough money to go anywhere, the girls hold up a restaurant. Candy (Hudgens) and Brit (Benson) are especially into this, but Faith knows in her heart that even though she's a goody too shoes compared to the others, they've done something terrible. 

They stop thinking about the robbery once they arrive in Florida, their spring break destination. At first, everything about Spring Breakers made me miss college: getting spring break in the first place, looking like a total slob in need of highlight retouching, and having the freedom to just do whatever whenever under the hot sun. It also made me wonder why I never really went anywhere during my own spring break college days, but having attended the University of Arizona, which is essentially spring break year-round, I never needed to run away to some amazing vacation hotspot to take advantage of good weather, my swimsuit, or beers.

And that's the mindset I had in the beginning of the film. I looked back on my own early 20s with fondness, but once the girls get arrested and temporarily put in jail, it's clear that the party is over. The characters start to see this, but fall under the spell of corn-rowed, gold-toothed drug dealer Alien, played by the seriously talented and gifted James Franco. Faith knows right away that he's bad news and that something catastrophic is inevitable. The others seem to recognize this deep down, but it doesn't stop them from rushing back to his house and screwing around with guns in his presence.

Spring Breakers is especially hard to stomach once Alien enters the picture, and the water and sunlight shots do nothing to take away from the dizzying effects of the camera angles and intense scenes.

For a 90-minute movie, Spring Breakers is seriously overwhelming, and you'll be ready to stop seeing flashy colors and spilling booze by the end of it. Given the director's reputation, it's no surprise that the movie is just as big a handful as its main characters, and while I was relieved to duck out of the theater once the credits started to roll, I was still very much intrigued by the plot and characters. I had so many questions, which I won't reveal to you, and decided I'd like to re-watch the movie in the near future, even though it would probably be too much for me to handle a second time around. That's just the kind of movie Spring Breakers is.