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  • Ben Turner

Peridot ***

Starring: Shayne Pax, Susan Moore Harmon, Harry Hains

Director: Shayne Pax

Country: USA


Gabriel (Pax) is a sex worker, who spends his days bored at home and his nights bouncing from client to client. Lost in his own selfish world, he is taken aback when an older woman (Harmon) offers to pay him just to spend time with her. A successful author, his benefactress becomes a dear friend, with the pair learning much from each other’s diametrically opposed lives.


Pax directs and stars, having also written the script, which is like a mashup of My Own Private Idahoand Harold And Maude; two films he states are his favourite films. The narrative of a sex worker with a heart of gold has been explored many times now, but this feels like a sanitised version of the trade. His angelic looks only add to this; clippered, trim and clean-cut. The fact Gabriel steals from his clients does give him an edge, but his sulky entitlement serves only to alienate rather than allowing us beneath his skin.


The film is brief and feels like it’s missing a mn integral segment. The ensuing friendship between Gabriel and Martha gets less screen time than it deserves, especially with as capable an actress in the role. It’s a film about love and our tendency to look for it in the wrong places, which for Gabriel is in the faces of clients who barely see him as a person. The final act tries to pack an emotional punch, but without enough rising action this climax feels premature.


A warm film with a lot of heart, Peridot is an entertaining but safe film that doesn’t quite find the truth within its ambitious subject matter. But it’s very pretty to look at!


UK Release: Out now on VOD, released by Peccadillo Pictures

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