audience Reviews

, 67% Audience Score
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    The more movies I see, the more I'm drawn to those that put character before plot. This movie has the wisdom to understand that the inner lives of its teen characters are far more fascinating than any dumb, recycled plot it could have chosen to bore us with. Though it's about Ukrainian high school seniors, anyone who's ever been a teen will find something of a kindred recognition in these characters. What "Stop-Zemlia" does best is observe how they feel about themselves & how they relate to each other. That's probably the hardest kind of writing to commit to film: to really listen to characters instead of burdening them with useless plot details. My only quibble with the film are the faux-documentary parts that provide explanations that I would rather intuit by just watching the characters go about their lives. Apart from those sequences though, I was quietly immersed in this story and wished it could be a mini-series so it could give all of them more time to develop further.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    An Ukrainian film about the fragile and wonderful world of teenagers, about the amalgam of emotions and sensibilities that make them living in a way that adults gradually forget, becoming poorer and poorer in poetry of self-discovery.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    The directorial debut of Kateryna Gornostai, this film finds an introverted high schooler named Masha, who is only happy when she's hanging out with two other ousiders, Yana and Senia. Yet how will young love change everything? After all, Masha is in love with Sasha, Yana is in love with Senia and Senia is in love with Masha. Even though this takes place a world away — much less a world in danger of Russian troops coming into its borders and possible igniting World War III, which is hinted at in this movie when Senia attends a class explaining how to load an AK-47 — the lives of these teens don't seem all that different from our country. And it reminds me — I'm glad that I am not growing up today with the pressures of identity, social media and nonstop harassment. It all seems so confining and full of anxiety even in comparison to my teen years in the 80s. Gornostai started in documentaries and this movie uses that style throughout. It's a really earnest and nuanced take on the perils of growing up. But yeah, I'm totally good with never being a teenager ever again.