Friday Streaming - In spite of traveling through time over and over, Back to 15 on Netflix doesn't really discover what it set out to do!

Shachi Lavingia
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Back to 15

Based on a book by Brazilian author Bruna Viera, Back to 15 could've been so much more had it allowed Anita to really look within as her younger and current self.

We're so consumed with happily ever afters that we don't quite spend enough time on really living it up and being in the moment even if that means making mistakes. It's no wonder that we're attracted to the concept of going back in time to change the way we did things so we can live better lives today. But we keep forgetting that growing up is literally all about learning things about life and ourselves from our very own lived experiences and switching that knowledge for living it 'right' isn't worth it! Directed by Vivianne Jundi and Dainara Toffoli, Back to 15 reminded me of this because just like Anita, I've wanted to go back in time with the things I know now and kick some ass as a 15-year-old. While that wasn't possible for me, it was for Anita and I'd hoped that this teen drama would've used this opportunity to provide Anita with the tools to understand herself better but just like 15-year-old Shachi, she was busy fixing everything, and everyone around her instead of looking within. This is literally what we go to therapy for today!

Cast - Maisa Silva and Camila Queiroz play Anita, our protagonist. Pedro Vinicius plays César and Alice Marcone plays Camila.

Storyline - Unhappy with her life, 30-year-old Anita is a constant mess and is the living definition of 'doesn't have her shit together'. When she's forced to go back to her hometown for her sister's wedding, she's confronted by everything she can't deal with about her childhood including her father's absence, jerks from school who bullied her, her picture-perfect sister with her perfect life and all her insecurities being laid out open by nosy neighbors. After being called out by people who matter, Anita wishes she could go back in time and fix things for herself and also see her dad one more time given that he passed away before her 30th birthday. While looking at her online blog, the unimaginable happens; Anita goes back in time to 2006!

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Watch the trailer here!

What I liked - This Brazilian series provided so much nostalgia with parts of each episode based on the early 2000s. Everything from clothing, iPods, magazines, hairstyles, hell even the way we posted pictures and oh the non-stop conversations we'd have with that crush on MSN messenger! It felt like I was back in 2007 blushing at the text box that said "typing". Her email address reminded me of one two many embarrassing ones I've made over the years. The things we did as a teenager! The last episode shows present-day Anita living the life her younger self always dreamt of and the screenplay keeps shifting between her 15-year-old and present-day self to showcase that. Back to 15 also does such a fine job of portraying César's struggles as a queer person in 2006.

What I didn't quite like - Back to 15 had all the tools to delve into the why's behind Anita's adult life being the mess that it was but it barely scratched the surface. After being able to relate to Anita's life as a teenager and adult, I wish this show would've spent more time on her understanding herself. Sitting through 6 episodes felt rather tiresome when there was no self-discovery at the end of it. We don't know anything about these supporting characters except the roles they play in Anita's life from one episode to the next. No conversations really become anything at all in this show almost like it has no layers. It also felt like Netflix's equivalent of going to work for a meeting for something that could've been an email. 13 Going to 30 has pretty much ruined us in the rom-com meets time-travel department, making it so hard to enjoy Back to 15 as a stand-alone show.

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