Impressive & sensitive
- High Art review by PD
Not the sort of thing I'd normally, watch tbh, but during the 'lockdown' etc ... and so pleased I took a punt on this. The strength is mainly Lisa Cholodenko’s script, which totally avoids the usual cliches with considerable sensitivity.
The film revolves around two women whose lives change as a result of a chance meeting in the building where both reside. Protagonist is Syd (superbly played by Rahda Mitchell), a young, idealistic and ambitious editor-in-training at 'Frame', an art photography magazine. Syd enters the flat of her neighbour, Lucy Berliner (Sheedy), as an outsider, suspiciously observing the latter’s friends as they go about their party routines with booze and drugs: (there's an an awful of lot of this - and perhaps the contrast between Syd’s clean and naive world and Lucy’s sophisticated, and, 'decadent' one is perhaps a tad overcooked). But the film's strength is the depiction of how the tentative friendship between Syd and Lucy evolves, and this is totally convincing, the younger Syd striving to achieve professional recognition in an industry driven by fashion and hype, battling with Lucy, the disaffected photographer prodigy who’s seen and done it all. The beauty of Cholodenko’s writing is that she etches the evolving friendship, and the transformation of the two women. I normally just fast forward through any 'sex scenes' on the screen, but here, with the heat and the awkward physicality, it's beautifully portrayed in such a way that we feel less like an awkward, intrusive 'voyeur' and more like a confidante. Similarly, the film also painstakingly dissects the culture of 'heroin chic' and its implications - one scene perfectly captures the ambivalence we feel when torn between self-interest and self-sacrifice, between protecting ourselves from trouble and throwing ourselves into dangerous situations to prove commitment to our longtime companions. Impressive stuff.
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