In In the wind, now streaming on Netflix, a privileged young woman on her way to medical school and following in her father’s footsteps begins to question everything during a family vacation. When she least expects it, she falls in love with a passionate hotel worker and windsurfer who shows her how to trust people and love life again after losing her mother. We’re here to let you know if this Polish drama is worth adding to the queue.
The essential: Ania (Sonia Mietielica) and her family are heading for their annual vacation. On their way, they are passed by a battered orange van full of rambunctious youths, and a young man catches Ania’s eye. She smiles shyly and looks away, but that seems to impress her. Ania is still dealing with the loss of her mother 5 years ago, and her father Andre (Marcin Perchuć) lives in fear that she will slip back into the debilitating depression that once tormented her. At the hotel, the family – including Ania’s mother-in-law and little brother – finds her close friends, a couple and her son, Kuba, whom Ania can barely bear to be around. Ania’s father tells them that she entered medical school and will likely follow in his footsteps, though she announces that she isn’t so sure. In an attempt to get out and about, Ania goes to a yoga class one day with her mother-in-law but ends up in a kitesurfing lesson with the boy in the van after the class is canceled.
Ania finds herself constantly thinking about the boy, who she learns is called Michal (Jakub Sasak). She spends an evening on the beach partying with her group of friends and begins to fall in love with him, but when she sees him being affectionate with another girl the next day, she stops, hiding in her room for a while. days at a time. Andre eventually takes her out to dinner one night, which later leads to her finding out the truth – that Michal was just messing around with a friend. The two reconnect and fall in love hard and fast, spending their days and nights together as Ania finally learns (literally and metaphorically) to let go and love life again. With family drama unfolding, her future ahead of her, and the end of summer looming, Ania begins to wonder what she really wants her life to be like – and if Michal fits in with her plans.
What movies will this remind you of? : Taken by a wave, Last summerand DD+E.
Performance to watch: Sonia Mietielica is a star. She bears the weight of In the wind, juggling grief, anguish and coming of age. Although her character is often quiet, there’s so much dancing behind her eyes and in every occasional little smile. Very often, the girl who comes from the privileged world in these stories is a little harder to approach, but Ania de Mietelica touches you right away, even with her tight ponytail and her stoic, sometimes hostile demeanor. There is so much left unsaid in In the wind, but her pain and her passion live in the moments of silence she shares with Michal and with her father. Mietielica just has this thing.
Memorable dialogue: Most of what works in In the wind is his long stares and silences — no particularly memorable dialogue here.
Sex and skin: Our two lovers undress and make love on the beach at sunrise.
Our opinion : In the wind, like so many young international novels that have hit Netflix, takes its time with the story it tells. There aren’t really any frills or attempts to reinvent the wheel, but it still works. There’s a dreamy, warm quality to the film, a sincerity that resonates even when some scenes overstay their welcome or feel a bit unnecessary. We’ve seen this story told before – a miserable rich girl with tight wounds falls in love with the free-spirited hotel employee who spends her free time windsurfing and boating. party on the beach with his friends. But the chemistry between Sonia Mietielica and Jakub Sasak is electric; it’s impossible to look away from these two. From the moment their eyes meet for the first time, we know we’re in for something special. Much of what happens between the two of them is wordless, conveyed only by longing looks and subtle exchanges, but damn it works. In the windThe setting does a lot to make the movie look as dreamy as it does, but it’s these young lovers that make it sing.
Many dramas with young romances at the center may struggle to keep things grounded and avoid getting soapy, but In the wind don’t fall into any of these traps. He actually juggles themes of grief, identity and sanity with great grace, painting his characters and their pain in painstaking detail. And that doesn’t let things get too heavy either; there’s a heartache here, but there’s also a happy ending, the one we see coming but can’t help but enjoy. Even with its predictable path and conclusion, In the wind always feels useful.
Our call: SPREAD IT. In the wind may be a slow burn and a little too long, but there’s a compelling, dreamy quality to it, and the performances feel grounded and real.
Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines, hogging the mic at karaoke, and tweeting thirst. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.