“Last Summer Of Nathan Lee” is a fun, moving, and heartfelt coming of age mockumentary

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Harrison Xu, Dru Perez and Matthew Mitchell Espinosa standing at a wedding
Harrison Xu, Dru Perez and Matthew Mitchell Espinosa in ‘Last Summer of Nathan Lee.’

After the success of Paranormal Activity in 2009, mockumentary movies, especially horror, saw an explosion in popularity. Something about the story being told in documentary style really connected with audiences. What is interesting, though, is that this style did not expand as much to other genres.

So now that the found footage craze has faded out in Hollywood, it is great to see a romantic comedy movie using this format. Last Summer of Nathan Lee uses the hand-held camera style to tell the story of one young man’s coming to terms with a terminal illness and the encounters he has while trying to embrace the life he has left.

The Last Summer of Nathan Lee movie art
The Last Summer of Nathan Lee

Nathan Lee recently turned 18, and on his birthday, he is diagnosed with brain cancer. He asks his gay best friend, Dash, to document the events of the summer, as it may be his last. He also spends time experimenting with his sexual identity and ends up forming a romance with their friend, Lorelei. The story takes the three of them on a crazy journey of self-discovery in their home city of Los Angeles, where they just finished their senior year of high school.

There really have not been many mockumentary movies that focus on coming-of-age elements like this one. There have been countless teen summer movies, but not many are told from a handheld camera perspective.

While the film does have the illness of cancer involved in the story, this is not a depressing movie. Last Summer of Nathan Lee focuses on self-exploration and making the most of the time the characters have on earth. The story has a lighthearted vibe to it, and mixed with the coming-of-age theme, it provided some great encouragement. The messages can have a moving impact on the viewer.

Last Summer of Nathan Lee is such a fun ride. It has a lot of unique twists as well as a modern Gen Z flare. It features a lot of heart as well as excitement and great messages about self-identity, growing up, and becoming the person you want to be in life. The film shows that despite pain, you may still embrace the time you have and be who you truly are. It also features somewhat of a “YOLO” vibe that is reminiscent of a lot of 2010’s teen movies. That was a cool throwback to that era of film. I must say it is such a cute movie and a lot of fun to watch.

5/5 stars