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
Written by Jason Killgore
Performed by Jason Killgore
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A rare experience
My Wife and I watched the at home last night, and wanted to extend the experience with IMDb audience, so I dug into the back story, -- those who made the film in all capacities and other comments such as this. I loved these people in the film, and wanted to extend their "relationship" for as long as possible. The film, rather than being a scaffolding for dramatic tension, was a minimalist plausible story to allow the two main characters, one nearing the end of her life and the other at the beginning, to connect. The occasion for the meeting while unusual, advanced the plot without overpowering the story.
I have just viewed this short video interview of the two leads, Basedka Johnson, who played the elderly Sadie, and Dee Hemingway who portrayed Jane. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsFjMldSSnE If you loved the film, watch it.
If the profession of casting is discovering individuals who encompass the genuine emotions of the fictional characters of a drama, then this was an inspired example of the art. No looking through face shots or previous performances for casting Sadie, as an executive director recognized her character in the women next to her at a local fitness center, and uttered the mythic Hollywood words, "You could be great for the lead part in a film we are making." This is further discussed in the video I reference. Not exactly the best time of life to get such an opportunity, but Basedka jumped at it, with the due caution of her age.
I'm not sure that this magnificent film actually represents the finest example of the actors craft, which at its best can only be a close simulation of reality. What I felt watching the film, and now have confirmed by the single video of the two, and there will be no more since Basheda died soon after at 87, are two people of independent minds who have genuine affection for each other. Those who wrote, directed, edited and contributed to creating this film had the sense and restraint to provide a serviceable vehicle for this to be played out without any undue interference.
They have allowed millions of people to be with two genuine people and their characters for a brief time, who in both realms come from very different backgrounds, yet who share a common humanity. Even the usually seedy world of pornography became just what they did for a living, rather than defining them any more than any other occupation.
For someone much closer to Basheda's age than to Dee's, it is inspiring that she toughed out those last years, and was able to take the surprise of instant fame before it was all over. There are levels of this film that I still haven't been able to fully internalize, much less describe, which is a sign of a work of art that affects the viewer in ways that defy explanation.
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