A pair of identical twin sisters -- one, who has been paraplegic since youth and gets around in a wheelchair, and the other -- 'same face, different bodies.'A pair of identical twin sisters -- one, who has been paraplegic since youth and gets around in a wheelchair, and the other -- 'same face, different bodies.'A pair of identical twin sisters -- one, who has been paraplegic since youth and gets around in a wheelchair, and the other -- 'same face, different bodies.'
I gave up on that quickly, instead opting to start the movie over from the beginning. If you've seen Bujalski's other works, you know what to expect: artfully told - and small - stories that feel very authentic. Beeswax, even more than his other films, feels very, very real. And while the story is simple, there's so much nuance in the performances and production style that you feel as if you've seen some grand tale unfold.
So, the story. Two twin twenty-something sisters living in the city of Austin, Texas work their way through two very different struggles. Jeannie (played by Tilly Hatcher) is an overachieving boutique clothing/thrift store owner who is worried that her business partner, Corinne (Katy O'Connor), is planning to sue her; all along she spends time with Merrill (Alex Karpovsky), her on-again love who attempts at every turn to help her through her legal woes. Jeannie's sister, Lauren (Maggie Hatcher), is kinda/sorta looking for work and, more or less, just sort of breezing through life - hanging out, getting high and just being all around socially pleasant and fun. We get the impression that Lauren's only real concern (aside from maybe money) is her need to be around for her sister, who, in addition to having problems at work, is a paraplegic young woman with much stress in her life. Both sisters are incredibly kind and soulful people who I came to love through the movie - especially Jeannie. (Also, both of the sisters are absolute knockouts who resemble Juliette Binoche, which can only be a good thing.)
I won't say too much more about the story, aside from mentioning that, at most times, you simply feel like you're hanging out with the sisters and Merrill, who, despite tense times, seem to almost always be enjoying themselves - joking and teasing each other in loving ways. The dialogue never feels too much like a movie and the story just sort of falls into place - less a framework than it is a reason to talk. All that said, Bujalski's script is wonderful, and brought to life very well by the solid, very natural cast.
I kept thinking that, at some point, I'd feel the wear of Bujalski's style-over-substance approach, as this was my experience with his other two movies (which are both worth checking out). Didn't happen. Not even close. I was very into the story of the two sisters at every moment, not so much caring about where the story was going as I was excited to see what I'd learn next about these girls and their world.
And then there's the end. Ohhhhhhh what an ending. I won't say a peep, other than that it was the very rare conclusion that had me simultaneously screaming, shouting, howling and smiling. It was, in a word, perfect. Major, major kudos to Bujalski, his crew and the Hatcher sisters. Great, great work all around; okay, time for a third viewing!
- Mar 15, 2011