The film, directed by William Bindley and written with his brother Scott, bills a cast of rising young stars, like K.J. Apa (Riverdale), Maia Mitchell (The Fosters), Halston Sage (Paper Towns), and Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf), all of whom are shown in stylish shots of hazy #summergoals that look like they've been filtered through the next trendy Instagram editing app. But where other recent Netflix films like To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before felt like a revitalization of teen classics, or their teenage originals like Sex Education smartly encapsulate Gen Z, The Last Summer relies on a lot of hot 20-somethings who are popular in young Hollywood to, like, chill out at the beach and drink out of red Solo cups at warehouse parties, without saying anything that hasn’t been said before about a time in life that’s rife with change and surging emotions.
In its rushed, hodgepodge first act, The Last Summer quickly introduces its cast of characters -- the cliched high school sweethearts destined to break up (Sage, Jacob Latimore); a misogynistic jock obsessed with getting laid (Wolfgang Novogratz); a pair of archetypal geeks sick of their day jobs (Mario Revolori, Jacob McCarthy); and the "cool girl" filmmaker (Mitchell) who's too busy working on cinema to focus on the sweet musician (Apa) clearly interested in her -- and they'e all largely one dimensional, like they've been plucked from one bad YA story and forced into another. And for a movie just as much an homage to high school's end as it is to the city of Chicago, it's a white, privileged look at the city, for the most part. Aside from the handful of kids with part-time gigs or Sosie Bacon's Audrey, who is basically the one middle-class girl who has to work a lot, everybody's down to just kick it by sunny Lake Michigan for the next few months.