On the face of it Rebecca has it all, an independent and strong woman with the perfect job and the perfect daughter. But appearances can be deceptive.

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Li
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Francesca
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Rebecca
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Anne
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Dan
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On the face of it Rebecca has it all, an independent and strong woman with the perfect job and the perfect daughter. But appearances can be deceptive.

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Short | Drama | Family

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Nicely structured but a little too simple and "middle-class" in the delivery (SPOILERS)
24 March 2014 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

Rebecca has a very important job in which she is decisive and as hard as she needs to be to make things happen; on the face of it she is successful and together. At home however a broken marriage is seeing her daughter drift away from her and her "personal time" is really just brief times away from work with no clean break.

Bleach is a mixed bag of a film but it must be said that the reservations I have about it are more about me than are strictly about the film. As a delivery the film is simple enough because it is about a woman tightly wound and not in touch with anything since she is so braced against and for her life – so basically alive but not living so much as earning and doing. The film depicts this pretty well although in order to break her out of it she has an interaction with her Japanese domestic help. This interaction appears to be very sudden and I wasn't sure if there was a background to it or not, but over the rest of the evening Rebecca is shown Butoh dancing by Li (because it helps you "feel") and ultimately painted in the traditional white make-up of the Geisha.

I get the point being made and in a way I did like that we get to see some simple change in Rebecca as a result, rather than a full-blown transformation but personally I didn't like the rather pat manner in which it is delivered. Film and fiction is not short of "Western people moved by other culture to be in touch with themselves and see their inner worth" type stuff – it is a device from this short through to the dread Sex & The City 2, the only difference is how well done it is (or not). In this it is not too forced but has to happen quickly and as a result is a little too pat and simplistic for me to really get into. The dance and make-up also made me feel a little awkward and I would have liked more from the character rather than just the make-up.

Cassidy wears it well and does well with the character in terms of the buttoned up nature and the movements later on. Abe plays it with sensitivity and just about avoids being "a Japanese plot device" and does enough with her face to bring out a bit of character and not just Eastern wisdom – it must be hard for her to avoid typecasting as such, although in particular she seems to be specifically cast as "Japanese girl wearing headphones" since this is yet another thing from her where she is featured wearing headphones. Minor support is good but the film belongs to these two and although I didn't like the plot device of Li's "Japaneseness", these two made it work as well as could be expected. Miller's direction is a bit too heavy on the importance and meaning of it all and although it looks good and has a nice sensitive closeness, it is a bit too serious for its own good and I didn't care for the score either.

Although I have reservations, it is still nicely delivered, simple and is a decent enough short on a familiar riff.


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