A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective.
STARLET explores the unlikely cross-generational friendship between 21 year-old Jane (Dree Hemingway), and the elderly Sadie (Besedka Johnson), two women whose worlds collide in California's San Fernando Valley. Jane, an aspiring actress, spends her time getting high with her dysfunctional roommates, Melissa and Mikey (Stella Maeve and James Ransone), while caring for her Chihuahua, Starlet. Sadie, a widow, passes her days alone, tending to her flower garden. After a confrontation between the women at Sadie's yard sale, Jane uncovers a hidden stash of money inside a relic from Sadie's past. Jane attempts to befriend the caustic older woman in an effort to solve her dilemma and secrets emerge as their relationship grows. Director Sean Baker continues in the naturalistic style of his previous films, the award-winning and Spirit Award nominees PRINCE OF BROADWAY and TAKE OUT, capturing the rhythms of everyday life with an authenticity rarely seen in cinema. Featuring a pair of ... Written by
STARLET is a bold and original independent film. It's not afraid to go places most indies would shy away from, mostly due to not landing a distribution deal etc. That is just one of the many reasons why STARLET has true independent spirit.
I saw STARLET at SXSW earlier this year and it was the most exciting narrative to come out of the fest. Sean Baker is a fearless filmmaker that has already established himself with a diverse body of work. He's one I'll be watching for a longtime to come.
And of course this short review/praise would be incomplete without mentioning the breakthrough performance by Dree Hemingway. You could tell she had complete faith in Baker and it showed in her performance. It's a risky role that she seemed to handle gracefully.
STARLET is a film that challenges it's viewers. It challenges our prejudices and preconceived notions, but it does so with a heart.
Honorable mention: The brilliant, and almost effortless, performance by the dog, "Starlet".
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