"That's me, I'm a Monkey", despite what the title might suggest, is a drama about a young writer, whose diet consists of beer and cigarettes, whilst her favourite pass-time is getting laid with random men. At the same time she lives off money given to her by her sexual sponsor. One can easily see that Adjeng's (played by Titi Handayani Sjuman) life is screwed up. Much owed to her equally demented relationship with her controlling mother, a burned out singer famous in the 80s.
The movie has a very autobiographical feel to it and first time helmer Djenar Maesa Ayu seems to be conveying a very personal story. Most tech credits are great, but the film is very uneven with some brilliant sequences followed by bland and TV-like shoots. It almost feels like there were two directors and two cinematographers working on the movie with every other shoot given over to the former. Pacing tends to be off and some script doctoring would have helped the movie immensely.
Titi Handayani Sjuman does a sufficient job as Adjeng, the tortured writer, but unfortunately her film relationship with Henidar Amroe is lacking. And in a movie where the chemistry between her and her mother is key to keep the dramatic flow of the story flowing it really hurts the end effect. Henidar Amroe at times does a good job, but you never really feel the intensity of their past and this makes the movie ultimately underwhelming. That said it is a worthwhile watch and touches on some very interesting issues. All in all a decent first go by Ayu and I am definitely waiting for her follow-up movie.
For those interested there is a brief cameo of Joko Anwar, the current king of Indonesian cinema.
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