Starring: Isabel Ellison, Sam Encarnación, Franco González, David J. Cork, Max Carpenter
Directors: Isabel Ellison, Ryan Guiterman
Lucy (Ellison) and Lucien (Encarnación) are lifelong friends with shared childhood trauma. Now living together in New York City, they have created new lives for themselves in the creative industry, surrounded by a new circle of artists and sex workers. They’ve worked hard to overcome their problems with addiction and loss, but as their moment seems to arrive, will they be able to rise above their issues to welcome success into their lives?
A film about the consequences of the unresolved trauma, Ellison is drawing on her own life for the project that she wrote, directed and starred in. The narrative revolves around the internal saboteurs that seem intent on destroying both friends’ happiness before it can take root. The rest of the story is window-dressing, but for a film with such a simple core, it gets lost within a needlessly complex narrative. It feels more like an ensemble drama at times, with subplots that serve only as distractions, leaving it more resembling a saga than the character portrait it surely should have been.
With its conversational style, it wanders into the realm of mumblecore at times. Peppered with black and white flashbacks, many scenes are also punctuated with sequences shot at a deliberately disorientating low frame rate. Pretty basic and unexciting, it feels like its directors committed early to stylistic choices without re-evaluating the need for variation in the edit rather than banging the same aesthetic drum over and over. And as the film becomes more and more bogged down by these lacklustre flourishes, the characters’ parallel angst becomes grating alongside them.
With a cast of characters from every gender, sexuality and race together, this is a veritable smorgasbord of rainbow diversity. But for all the film’s honourable intentions, these are underserved by its drearily flat execution.
UK Release: Out now to watch on VOD, released by Precariat Productions