It has literally been less than 10 minutes since I saw Camp Takota for the first time, so I am attempting to half-ass this review. I want to get it done while it is fresh in my mind. And can we just take a moment to talk about the fact that these girls made a real, actual, and totally amazing movie?!
Like many of you, I heard about Camp Takota from my favorite YouTubers Grace, Mamrie and Hannah, all of whom happen to be in the movie, as well as Chester See and a cameo from Sawyer Hartman. I am late to the party, but I finally was able to buy the movie (and documentary – woo!) a couple days ago.
My first impression? I LOVED IT! But I am also a huge fan of everyone in the movie, so here is my very much biased review of Camp Takota.
Synopsis: Camp Takota is about Elise (Grace) who gets fired from her job after a mishap, finds out her fiance Jeff (Chester See) is cheating on her, and goes back to her old childhood camp (Camp Takota, obviously) to spend the Summer away. She runs into her old camp BFFs Maxine (Mamrie) and Allison (Hannah). Just as things start to look up, the camp is put into jeopardy and the friends join forces to help save the camp.
I’m going to address the cynics and negative Nancy’s first, so they can get over themselves and leave. This is an independent movie with a tiny budget and was filmed in what.. a month or two? It was a project they obviously loved being a part of, so get over it. Again, this is going to be a largely biased review. If you aren’t a fan of these girls, you may have a different opinion.
As someone who isn’t a movie buff or a reviewer, I don’t have much to say about the directing other than.. cool job, guys. Brothers Chris (who also has a part in the movie) and Nick Riedell directed the film.
I haven’t read any other reviews, as I wanted to see the movie after hearing as little as possible about the final product, so I’m not sure what others thought about it. There is a love story tied in with Elise and the camp’s produce farmer, Eli (played by director Chris Riedell), but the heart of the film was really about the girl’s friendship and their love for the camp. I laughed, I teared up (damn you, Mamrie), I smiled and I was immensely and irrationally proud of everyone in the movie for taking Mamrie’s idea (who conceptualized and wrote it) and making it a reality.
But one thing that proves what a heartwarming and incredible movie this is, is that I think non-YouTube-fans would still enjoy it.
Another thing I enjoyed is that while aspects of the character’s personalities were similar to the actresses themselves, they were unique enough to separate Elise from Grace, Allison from Hannah and Maxine from Mamrie. I was bummed that Hannah got less screen time than the other girls, but she definitely made the most of every line.
I think Grace was exactly how you expected her to be: charming, funny, sweet and perfect in front of the camera. She really channeled Elise’s struggle between her new life and her old, and finding her direction as she was trying to find herself.
While I think Grace and Hannah did an amazing job, the standout performance was really Mamrie. She was perfect and didn’t miss a beat. Clearly a natural performer, she seemed content and confident being in front of the camera, and like she had done this hundreds of times before. I was not expecting to tear up near the end during her big speech, but I did, seriously got me good. Girl can act!
The story behind Camp Takota was one of friendship. I can almost guarantee other reviewers talk about the difference in pace between their friendship, and the love story between Elise and Eli, but honestly, I think it was for the better. Like all good friendship movies, it should be about them, not the side stories. Plus, SPOILER ALERT, I am a sucker for a happy ending.
Go to CampTakota.com to buy the movie and other cool shit.