Do you know those kinds of movies that you read the synopsis or watch the trailer and you just know they are going to cry at the end of it? 18 PRESENTS is such kind. Except, it did not quite take me there, as much as I anticipated for it to.

Synopsis and Trailer

In a gist, 18 PRESENTS is an Italian movie about a mother who is diagnosed with cancer while she is pregnant. 

Knowing she won’t have much time with her daughter, she decides to leave her presents for every birthday up to her 18th. 


 SYNOPSIS IN MORE DETAIL (Warning: might contain spoilers)

18 PRESENTS starts by showing us the life of a young pregnant couple; Elisa and Allessio. We fall in love with their kind of love, and obviously, we are rooting for them. Yes, even Allesio’s football coaching career.  

Later, we see Elisa, pregnant, go to work; where she starts bleeding. Fearing miscarriage, she goes to the hospital where she meets a worse fate than miscarriage. She has breast cancer; the doctor says.

She is obviously devastated, so on her way driving home, she stops for a moment to take it all in. It is here that the movie fast forwards to Allesio, holding the baby girl, born,  in his arms. 

The movie then plays with these fast forwards, from Anna’s, the daughter, first birthday and first birthday present that her mother left her; to all other birthdays till her 18th. 

Anna, it is evident, has a rebellious streak in her. She has grown to hate everything about her birthday, and the “stupid” gifts her mother left her. On her 18th, she takes the turn for the worst and runs away from her party; gets drunk, gets a lift from a total stranger, goes to a bar; you know, total normal teen stuff. 

Between all these, Anna gets hit by a car; and who is to be driving that car but her own mother; Elisa. I know, I know. Sounds unbelievable, right? Well, believe it. Anna, it seems, time travels to the day pregnant Elisa found about her cancer. 

Elisa takes in Anna, who was not badly injured, to her home; not knowing who she is. 

But Anna knows and Anna being Anna, does not disclose it. The story then follows this “time travel”, and of the relationship between Anna and Elisa that they never got to experience. 


18 PRESENTS definitely has a great original plot. And, it has its fair share of surprises, there is no doubt about that. 

One thing that you someone watching is going to love about it is the family dynamic of Elisa, Allesio and Anna; whether it is during the “time travel” phase, or in reality. They are the kind of family that beneath all the fights they have, the depth of their love is also very evident. 

Then, apart from the story; there is, of course, the videography element of it. It was perfect, capturing every moment, every emotion, every small detail. 

However, the movie has that thing that will not make people believe the story.  Especially the “time travel” bit, which we are later shown what it really is; but still, if someone is a realist, they will have a hard time grasping that factor. 

Another thing is the inability to take us there. I kept expecting to cry in various scenes, and then, the scene passed, and no tears. Maybe I am the one with a strong heart? Maybe, some of you should watch it and see if it will make you cry. 

Apart from all that, if I was to rate 18 PRESENTS, I will give it a 7/10. 

Watch 18 PRESENTS here.