Saturday, September 27, 2008

Fun


This Rafal Zielinski film is not bad as tells a compelling story with a script by James Bosley adapted from his own the play. In my opinion the film unsuccessfully tries too hard to be sort of arty as uses tech specs that belong to the art style like parts in black and white and other in full color, hand-held camera, odd close-ups, etc that could have been exceptional if only contributed to the storytelling; using them for no evident reasons becomes not really visually interesting to watch. But then, the story is so powerful and the two actresses have such good performances that I imagine that most viewers do not notice much what I’m talking about.

The movie tells about neglected and living in a not positive fantasy world (almost pathological liar, but she lies to please others and to try to fit) Bonnie (Alicia Witt) that on a bus stop meets abused and abandoned Hillary (Renée Humphrey) and since they meet they have a “high” for each other as they feel that finally they have met someone who likes, cares and “loves” each of them. As they lost the bus they decide to walk together and easily each tells each other their most inner thoughts and get into a state of ecstasy that leads them to kill someone they do not even know.

The film tells what follows after they are convicted in a juvenile detection facility and for this part of the story the filmmaker uses black and white obviously denoting the raw reality. But also tells the incidents that happened that one day when Bonnie and Hillary met and here the story is full color obviously denoting the ecstasy. The full color part of the movie story is told sort of out of sequence with the black and white being the main narrative, but unfortunately the full color sequences are not triggered by something happening in the black and white sequence, so they are simply flashbacks that come out of the blue. I know I’m being too technical with this movie, but it really bothered and distracted me A LOT the terrible use of the tech resources.

I believe that the story is so compelling and powerful that maybe if the director and cinematographer were not trying to do “art” the film would have been better and if they only knew how to use the tech resources, then they would have made an outstanding film.

Still I have to admit that this is one of the best adaptations I have seen from a stage play to the screen even when you can tell that the intense dialogues between psychologist Jane and reporter John have with either Bonnie or Hillary are totally stage dialogues. But it is outstanding the way each main character are developed, with only words you get to understand Bonnie and Hillary backgrounds and how it influenced their fortuitous encounter.

Most of the reviews I read in the net tend to relate this movie to Heavenly Creatures that also was released in 1994 and some go further by relating it to Butterfly Kiss and Thirteen. In my opinion all of them are different movies that only have one thing in common two female teenagers or young women meet and passionately fall for each other and their “amour fou” leads them to commit extreme acts. But Fun absolutely is a film about abused and neglected teenagers and there is where the power of the story resides.

If there is one movie that I can relate to this one is Hard Candy with Ellen Page, both stories are about abused female teenagers, both stories are compelling and both films have extremely good performances by young female leads. Then both are not easy to watch and this is exactly what makes them to be outstanding.

Besides the awful and distracting tech specs this film is quite outstanding and it is no surprise that Renée Humphrey and Alicia Witt won a Special Jury Recognition for technical acting at the 1994 Sundance Film Festival and tied for Best Actress at the 1995 Gijon International Film Festival where the movie won the Special Prize of the Young Jury. Then Alicia Witt was nominated for the Best Debut Performance Award and James Bosley was nominated for Best First Screenplay at the 1996 Independent Spirit Awards.

Yes, I liked both actresses performances and liked the story just wished the director did a better film to showcase this powerful story and brilliant actresses. I can help to say that I have seen Alicia Witt in her following movies and it is a shame that she has not been able to find a role that shows that she really can act.

This movie is a lesbian interest movie well, at least as much as Heavenly Creatures, Butterfly Kiss and Thirteen can be or not, so if you liked any of those movies then this is a must be seen for you.

Then this drama is really for adult audiences that enjoy very well developed characters with great performances in not often seen compelling stories about female teenagers abuse consequences.

Enjoy!! (for the performances and story)

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