Beeswax Movie Review
Jeannie and Lauren (Tilly and Maggie Hatcher) are twin sisters in Austin with lively busy lives. And Jeannie hasn't let the fact that she's in a wheelchair limit her at all, as she co-owns a vintage clothing shop with Amanda (Dodge) and sparks a romance with her old friend Merrill (Karpovsky). But trouble is brewing in her partnership with Amanda. Meanwhile, Lauren is reinventing herself, splitting from her boyfriend and applying for a new job that might mean moving away from Jeannie.
The scruffy production style gives the film a naturalistic feel, with recognisably authentic characters that are nicely underplayed by the cast. The Hatcher sisters bring their relationship to the screen with an offhanded honestly, and their scenes with other characters feel just as truthful, mainly because the ad-libbed dialog is so rambling. This deconstructed approach makes the film notable, even if it never really grabs our attention.
It's like a slice of real life in which big events are actually pretty insignificant, conversations are mumbling and imprecise, and work isn't particularly exciting. Along the way, there are surprises that are pleasant (an unexpected romance), scary (potential legal problems) and unsettling (a big change). Yet while all of this is gentle and rather sweet to watch, it has no dramatic momentum at all. One of the key problems is that the characters are all so ill-defined that we never feel like we know them at all.
There are clear references to past history as well as unspoken connections, and yet no one ever lets us in. And as the film progresses, there's a huge circle of family, friends and acquaintances all involved in each other's lives, and yet we don't know them well enough to know who's important or why. That said, each moment of interaction is minutely detailed, and it's a tenderly observed look at how impossible it is to mind your own beeswax when your life depends on those around you.