18 Presents Review: A watchable tearjerker lit up by the emotional highs

18 Presents Review: A watchable tearjerker lit up by the emotional highs
Movie Rated


A pregnant mother with terminal cancer leaves behind 18 sentimental gifts for her unborn daughter to receive every birthday until she reaches womanhood.

Format: Film
Platform: Netflix
Movie Rated: 16+ 
Genre: Drama 

Italian filmmaker Francesco Amato, known for his films such as Let Yourself Go, is back with an emotional tearjerker in 18 Presents. Going by the name and the posters, it is not too hard to guess the plot of the film which will focus on the relationship between a mother and her daughter over the course of 18 years. But, there is more than just that, and it comes together with a myriad of emotions.

What is the Story About?
18 Presents shows us the relationship between Elisa and Anna. At the age of 40, a pregnant Elisa is happy with the life that she has set up for herself, but unfortunately, she gets to know that she is ill with terminal cancer. Before her demise, Elisa sets up 18 presents which are delivered to her daughter over the course of the first 18 birthdays. At first, this plot sounds like a crossover between ‘PS I Love You’ and ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’. But the story does take an interesting turn when a grumpy and irritated Anna (the daughter) meets with an accident on her 18th birthday and runs into Elisa herself again. Anna gets the opportunity to relive her life with her mother (even though they don’t know they are related) and understand the true meaning of love on the whole.

The two best performances in the film obviously come in from Vittoria Puccini and Benedetta Porcaroli, who plays the mother and the daughter. Though it does seem a little too theatrical at times, it works out well in the larger interest of the film. The rest of the cast is packed with decent actors who fit the bill.

The storyline of 18 Presents does set up very nicely with a fantasy element at its core. The growth of Anna as a child is shown in a rushed manner, but once the two main characters of the film meet up – things begin to get smoother. However, the biggest downer of the film is in its disability to create innovative situations between the two. It does look as if the directors and writers concentrated more on creating moments that will tear up the audience, rather than making it a film that actually takes you to worthy life lessons. The positives of 18 Presents lie with the emotional moments, which work out majorly only at the end.

Music and other departments
18 Presents does make use of some lovely songs which fall in line with the happenings in the film. However, the cinematography is strictly functional, while the editing gets too sloppy at times.

The biggest drawback of 18 Presents lies in how the writers were not fully able to make use of the enticing plot they had arrived at. Some more effort on the writing phase would have definitely made this a better watch.

Do I recommend it?
18 Presents is a good watch for people who like to invest time in emotional dramas. It is not something special, but definitely not a waste of your time either.

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