Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lover Girl

Lover Girl; Tragicomedy, USA, 1997; D: Lisa Addario, Joe Syracuse, S: Tara Subkoff, Sandra Bernhard, Kristy Swanson, Loretta Devine

Jake (16) is a rebellious girl who was abandoned by her mother. Not having nowhere to go, she goes to the apartment of her sister Darlen, but she refuses to let her in. She thus stays alone in front of the apartment complex, until she spots prostitute Marci and starts to follow her to her work place, a "massage parlor". Through a coincidence, Marci lets her stay in her apartment while she also starts working as a prostitute. After a while, even Darlen gets employed there, but the boss throws Jake out after she discovers she is a minor. She is picked up on the road by Marci in a car.

Lightly ambitious independent film "Lover Girl" handled the subject of prostitution in an appropriate and sustained way, even a little bit too optimistic and "harmless" considering it placed it in the genre of comedy, whereas it avoided any moral deprecation. In the execution by the directorial duo Addario-Syracuse the story didn't manage to become a small classic of it genre, or to capture, let's say, "Topazu's" or "Klute's" harshness, mostly due to the - sustained tone. Namely, many scenes are honestly sympathetic and touching - like in the one where Marci overhears how Jake is uselessly calling her mother on the phone, when she gives her a present or when they sleep together in the same bed almost as daughter and surrogate-mother - yet the viewer is constantly aware that the film never dares to be consistent to the end: it's logical that the minor Jake is not shown in any nude scenes, yet less so that none of the girls are never shown like that either, nor that there is no depiction of intercourse in any scene. Alas, constructed out of ellipses, the story doesn't seem completely genuine while the narration of the heroine is superfluous. Marci was excellently played by the underrated Sandra Bernhard, a trademark actress of independent films.


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