Melodate (2024)

Melodate (2024)

A convoluted, illogical coming-of-age drama that doesn’t know what to do with itself



Drama, Romance
Aida Nurmala, Caitlin Halderman, Greesella Adhalia
99 min


There were some good ideas here, but it’s just thrown in together with all these random plotlines and tangents that it becomes pointless.

What it's about

Coming from London, Melody moves into a strict all girls’ dorm in Jakarta while she’s studying at SMU Nusa Persada, and raises hell for the administration as she disregards its dated restrictions and encourages the rest of the occupants to flout them. However, her plans for changing the dorm gets awry when she meets Dante, the son of the dorm administrator.

The take

There’s a unique boarding school charm in Melodate, as the philosophical Melody is able to turn the dorm around through the sheer force of her personality. It’s the type of charisma plenty of school girls would want, the kind that creates Queen Bees that can change the entire status quo, for better (by changing clearly dated rules) or for worse (by bringing her whole dorm to a bar). Therefore, her clear antagonist is dorm administrator Mrs. Rasti, who happens to be Melody’s boyfriend’s mom. To its credit, the film doesn’t demonize either Melody or Mrs. Rasti, and there’s an interesting exploration on how much freedom should these children have, and how much control parents and authorities should have over their kids, but the way these topics are handled are illogical, inorganic, and convoluted, especially when they add in Nadia’s storyline.

What stands out

The plot is convoluted, but there’s a very clear stance about not prioritizing romance early on in life, especially with Nadia’s storyline, which is the cause of all the tough rules enforced. This idea isn’t totally terrible, but the film doesn’t feel like it’s convinced with this idea considering the ending. It just feels like Nadia’s storyline is an excuse to make Mrs. Rasti right, but in doing so, it defeats the purpose, especially since Nadia and Melody don’t feel like real girls, and Mrs. Rasti doesn’t feel like a real character.


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