18 October 2004 | tevanson
Real, honest emotion with a twist on the familiar tale
Sticking with the fairy-tale theme of her other film ("Memoirs of an Evil Stepmother"), this is the first short film written by upcoming lesbian director-writer Cherien Dabis.
Directed by Collete Burson and based on the Cinderella story, Carmen Plumb is our heroine -- an angst-ridden high school teenager deep into the Goth look. She pines for the beautiful, radiant Laurie (played wonderfully by Dania Ramirez ["She Hate Me," "Fat Albert"]). But her evil step-mother (played with gleeful evil by Jane Lynch) and horrid older step-sisters pour venom on her. Only the help of a literal fairy -- her gay friend, Justin -- can help transform Cindy into a gender-bending drag king who can crash the prom.
But when Laurie and Cindy connect on the dance floor, it's love at first sight. The high-heels and workman's boots come off to make dancing easier...until Cindy has to rush home at midnight. Will Laurie find out who the "little black boot" belongs to? Is the Pope Catholic?
Plumb is simply wonderful as the despairing but not desperate Cindy who stays true to her self despite the odds. There is real emotion running just beneath those chubby cheeks and behind those brown eyes.
Dania Ramirez is just as wonderful as the blatino prom queen. Her role could have so easily been harsh, preachy and cold in the hands of another actress. But Ramirez makes Laurie into a real person. There's a power, a rawness, a real desperation to escape the fickle embraces of the jocks and my-trophy-wife wanna-be's. Laurie's desperate need for real love is palpable. The film manages to finesse its way past a conundrum of an ending, which is even more satisfying.
While the plot may not be the most inventive, this film is a superb wonder. It really is the best of the fest.