Directed by: #RomanWhite
Nowhere left to go, Will Hawkins finds himself at camp for the first time. His instinct is to run, but he finds a friend, a father figure and even a girl who awakens his heart. Most of all, he finally finds a home.
As we creep into the more warmer months of the year here in the UK, it’s only fitting that a fun, sun-drenched musical land on Netflix to give us some uplift. Set at a summer camp, Will (Kevin Quinn), a struggling student who almost gets himself put in juvie, learns to embrace life and find confidence in himself to move forward. He meets George (Jahbril Cook) and Avery (Bailee Madison) and they both help him find his feelings and make memories he won’t soon forget. A Week Away spends practically all of its runtime inside the summer camp which makes the film the ideal escape for anyone feeling a little down and in need of some light entertainment.
Unfortunately, it’s not the most ambitious or investing of escapes. A Week Away pushes hard on its exciting nature; the game days and competitiveness of the youth, but falls short of being something more than just a few days under the sun and stars singing songs. Will is a troubled teenager; he’s an orphan and can’t fit in anywhere, so when he arrives at camp, he quickly finds himself at home. Surrounded by “Jesus lovers” (non-verbatim), Will’s ideals are challenged and evolve over the course of his stay at Camp Aweegaway, but with the speediness of the narrative, it’s practically a rushed piece which, whilst fairly enjoyable on the surface, feels like nothing more than a sloppy Disney copy/paste job. It isn’t dissimilar from teen musicals like High School Musical, in fact, some of the songs are just as catchy, but the meatiness of the themes it’s trying to serve just don’t hit as well as they should.
Some of the characters are interesting and likeable, others not so much. The film’s villain is lacklustre at most; his biggest hold over Will is his truth, which adds the needed tension that’s familiar within any teen drama. Once the bomb drops, Will’s new friends are tested and the relationships formed feel on the verge of breaking, but surely they couldn’t end a self-loving musical such as this on a low note, could they? A Week Away throws a lot at the wall, but not all of it sticks. What does stick, expectedly, is the romantic thread that goes through all the predictable beats, but at least it’s consistent. The film experiments but doesn’t fix itself on what it wants to do thematically, and it does speed through without much difficulty for the characters.
If you’re a parent looking for some harmless fun, A Week Away isn’t your worst pick, but don’t expect to find anything beyond some nice musical numbers and a colourful stay at a very American camp.
A Week Away is now streaming on Netflix.