by Mary Eileen Hare
A sweet summer installation, Make Me Believe is a touching romance that captures a couple through the ages, as they move past their childhood wounds to find each other again. After a break from the screen which left her fans starving for her next project, Ayça Ayşin Turan has returned to play the starring role in this feel good romance. It premiered on Netflix on July 23, and it performed well not only in America but internationally as well.
Make Me Believe brings us Sarah, played by the versatile Ayça, a magazine editor in search of her next big story on a reclusive photographer, and Deniz (Ekin Koç), her childhood love. Their grandmothers are neighbors and want for the children to come together while it becomes very obvious that Sarah and Deniz have a chasm between them, filled with repressed anger and misunderstanding.
The youngsters were sweethearts when they were 15 years old and their parting was acrimonious. Sarah wisely says in later years that no 15-year-old girl should have a lasting hold on a 15-year-old boy’s heart and yet, as the movie unfolds, we see that she hasn’t really forgotten him either.
It comes as no surprise that Deniz is the reclusive photographer Sarah is seeking and the story brings the typical conflicts of misunderstood intentions, soulful connections, botched matchmaking efforts, helpful friends, rivalrous colleagues, and unresolved trauma.
The plot is cliched but what sets it apart are the fabulous locales, with beautiful water, breeze, and skies. Assos, where the grandmothers live, is a naturally endowed gem along the Aegean coast and the vistas are just as much a part of the story as they are charmingly alluring. This movie will probably play a part in increased tourism to the area.
I feel obligated to disclose that I am a big Ayça Ayşin Turan fan and think her stellar performances only go from strength to strength. I first found her in the charming movie “Cute and Dangerous”. She instantly caught my eye and I have followed her work since. I have to admit I share one thing with her, except in her case she makes being clumsy look adorable, whereas I do not. This alone has me mesmerized.
Mr. Koç plays the perfect straight man to Miss Turan’s sight gags and antics. She beats a couple of guys up in a little café and lands both herself and her former beau overnight in the hoosegow, which leaves him to bemoan that nothing with her is ever simple. The two actors complement each other well. His calming, ascetic demeanor against her layered portrayal of a young woman who has internalized much in her life to become a self-possessed professional, is relatable.
The grannies are great, and Sarah’s sidekick from the office (Cagla Irmak) is on target. However, Deniz’s best buddy Ulas, played by the veritable Cagri Citanak, steals the category of best supporting actor. He embodies the laid back best buddy who understands the score, knows how to handle the sometimes temperamental artiste, makes some of the “best buddy” faces I have ever seen, and in his way steals a little piece of the movie. I watched his every little move and smirk. He nails it.
I won’t give any more away. It is a thoroughly enjoyable watch and the only complaint I have heard is that tons of fans wish it had been a series. It would have been great to watch the characters develop a little more, but in such a short time they do a fantastic job. Here is the trailer for the movie and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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Mary Eileen Hare became fascinated with Turkish drama after her first introduction to Kara Para Aşk, also now available on Netflix as Black, Money, Love. She studied Journalism and enjoys writing about people and subjects of interest. She lives in New York.