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  Beeswax

Starring: Tilly Hatcher, Maggie Hatcher, Alex Karpovsky, Katy O'Connor

Directed by: Andrew Bujalski

Produced by: Dia Sokol, Ethan Vogt

Written by: Andrew Bujalski

Distributor: The Cinema Guild

 
As seen at the 2009 SXSW Film Festival:

     Beeswax represents my first encounter with the work of writer/director Andrew Bujalski, whose previous features Funny Ha Ha and Mutual Appreciation are lauded in indie film-geek circles but unseen everywhere else. While I liked the film better than those of fellow mumblecore (read: insufferable) filmmakers, particularly Bujalskiís bud Joe Swanberg, I canít say I respond to these guysí style in the least. No, Iím not bothered by the lack of a linear narrative, but Iíd like something to latch onto beyond general ideas. In fact, thatís all Beeswax, the tale of an Austin paraplegic (Tilly Hatcher) who finds herself involved in a potential legal battle with the co-owner of her vintage clothing store, is about: general ideas. While nuanced and believable, the characters lack empathyóif my description of protagonist Jeannie seems uninviting, wait Ďtil you meet her sister Lauren (Maggie Hatcher) or vague love-interest Merill (Alex Karpovsky)óand because of this, the film becomes more of an examination of humanness rather than a work of humanness itself. While thereís nothing wrong with this idea in theory, in practice it results in a film that fails to engage. Yes, there are several themes in Beeswax that should stir up discussion, namely those related to its timely commentary on small business and how Jeannieís disability affects her daily life, but they donít carry any gravitas because the film is painfully detached on the whole. Itís hard to fault anything but the filmís conceptual framework for this, as the performances are as authentic and accurate to the script as they could be, the subject is topical, and the tech credits are solid given budgetary constraints. Beeswax has a lot of good qualities indeed, but they fail to overcome a flawed inception.

 

-Danny Baldwin, Bucket Reviews

Review Published on: 3.19.2009

Screened on: 3.14.2009 at the Paramount Theatre in Austin, TX.

 

Beeswax is Not Rated and runs 100 minutes.


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