Dear David (2023) Movie Review

Dear David is the latest Netflix series that is discussed quite a lot on social networks. About the vicissitudes of a teenager’s life and their wild sexual imagination, this discussion succeeded in capturing public interest.

This time, Shenina Cinnamon will play Laras, a model student who secretly has fantasies about a boy named David. This famously handsome soccer captain will be played by Emir Mahira.

Meanwhile, Caitlin North Lewis appears as Dilla, Laras’ best friend who turns out to be a lesbian. This film is directed by Lucky Kuswandi, who hopes that the film can inspire young people. According to him, Dear David is a coming-of-age story that keeps teenagers interested in self-love and compassion.

So how did Laras’ naughty fiction go viral throughout the school and nearly cost him his scholarship? For those of you curious, check out the full synopsis and review of the Dear David movie, available only on Read!

Movie Synopsis Dear David (2023)

  • Release year 2023
  • Genre Comedy, Drama, Romance
  • Lucky director Kuswandi
  • Cast Shenina Cinnamon Emir Mahira

Laras Susanto (Shenina Cinnamon) is an excellent student so she can get a scholarship to ease the burden on her mother, a single mother. At school, Laras is known as a model student, moreover he is also the student council president.

Who would have thought that behind his monotonous days, Laras secretly nurtured feelings for the captain of his school’s football team named David (Emir Mahira). In fact, Laras and David are not strangers, the two have known each other for a long time because they worship at the same church.

Laras and David’s parents also know each other, even Laras’ mother looks very concerned about David’s father, who turns out to be a widow. Instead of trying to get David’s attention, Laras expressed her desire through writing.

Dear David

Laras keeps a personal blog and writes a lot of fiction that makes David his main subject. She pours out her love and sexual imagination to David, through various mischief stories.

One day, Laras accidentally spilled a drink on David’s shirt. From here his naughty imagination resurfaced and Laras could not contain his naughty thoughts during class. This girl opened her blog, then wrote down her imagination while touching David’s body there.

Looks like the school bell hasn’t rang yet and Laras hastily withdrew his account. Unfortunately, this girl did not check carefully if her blog was real or not. By the next day, a blog called “Dear David” and his naughty stories had spread to a school.

This made Laras bewildered and scared, he hastily erased his traces on the school computer. He doesn’t want to lose his scholarship and bright future because of his carelessness.

On the other hand, David recognizes every sentence in the blog. He goes to Laras and asks why Laras is able to make him the object of his naughty stories.

Laras couldn’t avoid it anymore, he said that he was the one who wrote it but kept his feelings hidden. Trying to ask for forgiveness from David, the man broke his heart.

The reason is, David asked Laras to get close to Dilla (Caitlin North Lewis). This girl is actually a stranger, she is an old friend who was exposed to pornography at school. What do you think Laras will do to correct his mistake?

Dear David (2023) movie review

Stuck in a single point of view

Dear David is a very interesting sight indeed. Moreover, what is promoted is a matter of wild imagination and naughty teenagers, of course many are curious.

However, the more you watch, the more complicated the plot becomes with many issues related to teenagers. One thing that intrigues me, director Lucky Kuswandi just seems stuck on one point. Laras is the main focus, but there are still three or even four other characters that need to be explored.

Movie Dear David

Including the conflict between friendship and love, the characters of David and Dilla should be explored beyond the classic love plot. Furthermore, David and Dilla seem to have personal issues that are equally interesting and worth developing.

For example, about David with his panic attacks, about Dilla with her homosexuality. It would be more emotional if Lucky Kuswandi focused on the three main characters from the beginning.

Give a review about David and his childhood with his mother. Then also give an explanation of the porn incident that happened to Dilla, because this is the main capital that reinforces the term “whore” for him.

Another thing that makes me regret is why are parents’ personalities only used as sweeteners? Although the issues raised should be closely related to the family.

It’s a pity that Lucky Kuswandi didn’t show Laras’ mother’s surprise when she learned that her son had written the story. Not to mention the figure of David’s father, who is ignorant or unaware of his son’s sexual abuse.

Some of the contradictions are a bit shallow

In an interview, director Lucky Kuswandi said that Dear David is a coming-of-age film that focuses on discussing self-love and compassion. He also added that teenagers often compare themselves to others and are under pressure from society.

I agree, teenagers should be taught to love and respect themselves more. However, this theory seems less relevant when I watch Dear David.

Like I said, the backstories for the three characters aren’t strong enough. To me, all the theories of comparing yourself and society’s needs seem a bit contrived. Feeling like something is missing, life pressures manifest as a lack of urgency and frustration.

The “narcissistic and self-compassionate” campaign would have been more effective if Lucky Kuswandi had courageously dug into the background that made Dilla a lesbian.

I also don’t understand why the message of “wild imagination is right or wrong” was forgotten in season two. Although this one story idea is what I’m most looking forward to, because in reality there are a lot of underage kids doing fanfiction in the sex genre.

Is juvenile delinquency normal?

Only peel the conflict from the outside? That’s right, that’s how I feel the most while watching Dear David. In fact, this movie looks very promising, just watch the trailer. But after watching it, I have a lot of criticism to say.

Review Dear David

Director Lucky Kuswandi was so absorbed in capturing all the intricacies of teenage life that he forgot the main contradiction at work, which is the mischievous imagination of a 17-year-old high school student. .

When it comes to the closing scene, there are a few things I’m for and against. A dialogue presented by Shenina Cinnamon which, to me, takes on the wrong meaning when heard by teenagers.

“I am a passionate young man and a woman in love, is that wrong? I do not think so!” that’s what lalas said.

I agree, showing passion and love never hurts. But sexual arousal without legal age and sex education actually produces a bad effect. This clearly shouldn’t be seen as normal and normal, let alone the right to free speech.

Both the producer and the distributor are wrong, moreover, the subject may actually be sexually assaulted afterwards.

It would be even more interesting if the panic attacks that hit David really came from indirect sexual harassment, when people were looking at him. Another thing I like is that criticism of educational institutions is always on the side of the powerful.

Monotonous, only the opening looks unusual

Moving on to the quality of the movie, Dear David actually looks pretty promising, especially at the opening. The shape of the story “Tiger Man” made by Laras, is really suitable for fairy tales and dreams of young people when reading fanfiction or wattpad.

The sets used, sound effects, makeup and wardrobe used are truly phenomenal. Fantasy scenes have always been associated with fuchsia, which is a derivative of red and purple.

Considered from a psychological perspective, Kompas believes that this color means confidence, certainty and maturity. Colors tend to be bright, considered energizing and suitable for depicting happy moments.

Unfortunately, the cinematography and beautiful visuals did not last long because from the second half to the end everything changed.

To me, there aren’t many photos that feel great and special. Everything feels monotonous, the score is only interesting at the beginning. As for the rest, I found nothing interesting beyond updated dialogue that didn’t seem cheap and shallow.

Emir Mahira managed to steal attention

With the participation of young Indonesian actors, I can say that they look very convincing. Shenina Cinnamon is really the main attraction. This actress born in 1999 has never disappointed the audience.

His acting and inspiration for the character Laras really pleased me. But there’s nothing special about his character, because the longer Laras’ energy goes on, the slower it gets.

When compared to her Syriac character in Copying Light, it’s clear that her performance in Dear David is nothing. Exactly what surprised me was the beautiful appearance of Emir Mahira, who gradually increased her emotions and acting.

In the first half, I can honestly say the characters are weak and uninteresting. But entering the third half, gradually Emir Mahira began to befriend David’s character. The acting, emotions, and character development are more interesting than the main character.

However, for Caitlin North Lewis, there is still a lot to overcome. Of all the others, Caitlin’s acting is the most raw and out of control.

This is my review of Dear David, an Indonesian original series from Netflix that shows the intricacies of teen life. Do you like watching movies? If you find it good, don’t forget to share your impressions after watching the movie below!


Zephyrine is an experienced film critic who has worked for many magazines and websites specializing in cinema. She has a deep education in film history and theory, as well as a passion for classic and independent films. Writing style: Zephyrine always evaluates films objectively and honestly, not influenced by external factors such as the fame of actors or directors. She often focuses on the content, screenplay, technique, and personal feelings to provide insights and reviews of the film. Her writing style is easy to understand and familiar to readers, but also professional and profound. Notable articles: "Step Up" - Success comes from the perseverance and relentless effort of young people "The Social Network" - A fantastic documentary film about the birth of Facebook "Moonlight" - A touching story about love and the essence of humanity "Nomadland" - A poignant journey of a mature woman "Parasite" - A sensational film of Korean cinema with profound social messages.

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