Maybe I’m cynical, maybe I’m losing my “artsy” edge, or maybe I just don’t understand today’s movies, but I am so tired of “artsy” independent movies with no storyline, no point, a shaky camera, and no soundtrack attempting to have some sort of “depth” or “meaning.” I feel it’s trite, and a pale attempt at art.
The description on Netflix for Beeswax, released in 2009, begins “Director Andrew Bujalski uses nonprofessional actors and a small crew to bring a sense of intimacy to this film…” and I can just see the Craig’s List Casting Call: Sweaty out-of-work people with no background in acting within this vicinity please come to this location to film a movie this weekend. You’ll get the part as long as you can memorize some lines! Maybe that’s mean, but they were sweaty the whole way through. Whole way. Just sweaty, sweat you could see by their hairline. Just there. A little off-putting.
Beeswax is a story about identical twin sisters (which I didn’t know as I didn’t pay too much attention to the description, until the movie was almost over) who live together. And that’s…basically…it. Jeannie (Tilly Hatcher) owns a vintage clothing boutique in…wherever this movie is supposed to be…no setting is ever developed…and her sister, Lauren (Maggie Hatcher…I get it, they actually are sisters!) is more of a free-spirit. Lauren is attempting to find work as a teacher, helping her mother who is in some sort of political race or something (not quite clear), and considering jet-setting to Nairobi for no apparent reason. Jeannie’s clothing store is doing well, but she owns it with an absentee partner who is supposedly going to sue her for…what reason? I’m not clear on that one, either. But it’s discussed the whole way through. You meet Amanda (Anne Dodge), the partner, once while she’s discussing skipping town for…something? Not clear. But then you don’t see her again til near the end of the film. There’s also Merrill (Alex Karpovsky) who is giving Jeannie legal counsel about this supposed law-suit, and possibly a buy-out between the partnership, when the rekindle a romance that apparently happened in their past. There’s an awkward “arty” no-soundtrack love scene, too! Awesome. There is also, um, a part where they drive somewhere? The three of them. For something regarding the store. Like, a buyer or something? But that goes nowhere.
Literally, when the movie was done, I asked my husband “what just happened?” and he said something like “look on the bright side! It’s over now!”
I do not recommend this film, except in the case of a more natural and healthy sleep-aide. It’s completely confusing. I had no idea who anyone was through the first 20 minutes of the movie, the sound is awful because of the “small crew.” For example, there’s a scene where they’re in a coffee shop and the keep sliding the chairs and they have to stop talking because there’s no way you can hear over the chairs. Awful.
Maybe I’m desensitized by Hollywood like the rest of the human race, but give me some good actors with some chops and a reason to care about them, and give me a good soundtrack to move the plot along emotionally, and mix the audio a little better and maybe just don’t waste my time with a cheap camcorder and a couple of buddies willing to make a “movie” with you. I am literally shocked that this movie has been well-received by both IMDb and Netflix, and even Rotten Tomatoes didn’t hate it, but my favorite review of theirs isÂ “A relentlessly talky and meandering slough of claustrophobia passing itself off as an intimate life study.” Doesn’t make much sense, but a better try than this movie was.
I guess, if you really feel like falling asleep during a movie, and won’t mind missing the ending, try out Beeswax (and I’m not sure why it’s called that). You’ll be just as confused as I am!
Please note: I would give this a zero star rating if I could, but I cannot. So I’m even taking it a step further and giving it 1.5 SIMPLY BECAUSE they made a film and that’s more than I can say I’ve ever done!