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TV shows we love: Cruel Summer

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All hell breaks loose in a small Texas town when missing popular teen Kate (Olivia Hold) is rescued from her kidnapper and claims a classmate had seen her in the basement months ago. The accused teenager, Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia) watches the whole world turning against her while she insists she is innocent.

This is despite the former awkward nerd starting to date Kate’s boyfriend and hanging out with her friends while she was gone, something, she seems to have been wanting for a while.

Released in April 2021, Amazon’s ten-episode psychological thriller follows the two girls over three consecutive summers in the 90s, shifting between them. This is made easier to follow by three distinct colour palettes and the protagonists’ entire look changing.

Apart from the separate timeliness, Cruel Summer doesn’t lack on drama, lawsuits and plot twists. Perhaps this is why every 45-minute episode keeps viewers hooked.

But soon, they realise that not everything is what it seems. The narrators cannot be trusted; Kate because of her trauma and possible memory distortion and Jeanette because she had the key to the kidnapper’s house.

The series is an insight into the risks accompanying the desire for validation and acceptance while is careful as to not place any blame to the underage victims. It also explores the complex emotion of jealousy from various points of view. Even more disturbing is the approach of matters of agency and consent.

Overall, an excellent production with decent enough acting and a very meaningful soundtrack.

A second season has been confirmed for 2023.

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