User Reviews (15)

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  • I hated Unmade Beds at first because I did not recognize it. I have revised this review so many times already that I hope IMDb will allow just one more. I think I can get it right at last.

    At first, this seemed like a bleak and depressing picture of young people: of random, meaningless sex, total aimlessness in life, and grating, obnoxious music. They seemed more old and worn-out than young, more dead than alive, and it made me very sad.

    But then suddenly I saw that they are exactly like me when I was their age, and if this movie had been made in the East Village of New York City in 1967 instead of London more than 40 years later, I could easily have been in it; and not one word, not one scene, not the tiniest detail would have to change. This is EXACTLY what life was like then.

    The life it shows looks bleak and pointless to older generations (that's me now), but under the surface it is a life of unbelievable, matchless discovery and productivity. At the time I seemed just as lost as the kids in this movie do, but I look back on the late 1960s as the most glorious time in the history of the world, a time of unprecedented beauty, change and innovation. I trust that the generation depicted so accurately in Unmade Beds will feel the same about their own youth 40 years from now.

    I especially recommend this movie to old farts like me who hate it at first: that may be because it hits closer to home than you expected it to. Let it get under your skin and see what happens.
  • Alexis dos Santos' film 'Unmade Beds' is actually really skillfully well made; a pity, then that's it's so damn annoying. It's a tale of impossible beautiful young people living without any visible means of support in a warehouse in Hoxton, smoking lots of cigarettes to an achingly hip soundtrack, and generally getting entangled in each others lives (and bodies). It's also the sort of film where the characters look perpetually soulful and think lots of supposedly deep thoughts. Of course, one thing a film can do is idealise reality, and many of the best movies eventually end with sentimental payoffs; but this film is rife with unearned epiphanies, the whole film is a mood piece with no supporting substance. The poignancy is sham; dos Santos ultimately has nothing to say, although, as he says it rather well, there is hope he might produce something self-indulgent in future.
  • Miakmynov12 July 2009
    Warning: Spoilers
    Unmade Beds is an evocative capture of transient post-student / early twenty-something life in a borderless European Economic Community. It has endearing main characters and plenty of nice quirky touches – only when you're 22 could you start a relationship with someone without knowing their name or phone number. One suggests the next time to meet, the other the place – though I'm not quite sure where the money came from to finance the various (admittedly salubrious) hotel rooms.

    Some of the plotting felt very original – such as the two leads unwittingly swopping jackets and mattresses before they finally meet. The 'lost father/son' sub-plot was weaker though - Axl shows a confidence in his interactions with his 'Is-he-or-isn't-he?' dad that seems out of kilter with the more passive and subservient way he relates to his peers. That said, I thought the denouement of the relationship in question was nicely handled at the end.

    The film is more of a study of the ebb and flow of casual encounters than it any kind of particularly satisfying story. By and large, it manages to avoid the more obvious clichés that come with the territory, although the occasional one slipped through the net. For example, the Romantic Away-Day Train-Trip cliché, "let's just jump on any train and see where it goes." Why do they never end up in somewhere really dull and godforsaken, like Bromley? (and if that leaves you thinking "why Bromley?", just ask any AFC Wimbledon fan).

    I wondered if it said something slightly vapid about the nature of a current hedonistic, nihilistic and experimental androgynous youth - and then thought that perhaps that said more about my middle aged, overly-exaggerated and sentimental memories of the importance of animal rights demonstrations in the mid-eighties. It probably does.

    Overall, a winningly-sweet smile...and a little bit chaotic...and rambling...and all over the place 6/10.
  • lancelot_light29 June 2009
    It was like a detour, but eventually it would reach the destination. I like the symbol of the maze which Vera talked about at the beginning of her story: she used up all her luck in the maze and then she began to lose direction in real life. Perhaps for Axl and Vera, the recovery process was a detour—avoiding something (love perhaps? love from a lover and love from a father) and yearning for it at the same time. Then Mike's parachute theory unlocked their dilemma: if you cannot do something, maybe it's because you are not ready for it, or you don't feel like doing it now. The film portrays London subculture through foreigners' perspective, which shows the other sides of this metropolis and makes the story and images real and powerful. The music selection and the images are just awesome, especially the bokeh images.
  • milanambiar18 September 2011
    Warning: Spoilers
    This movie is nothing more than eye and ear candy, and that is if you're into hipster aesthetics. In fact, the characters are to hipsters as Marley's ghost was to Scrooge. They serve as a warning that it is possible to be gorgeous, to surround oneself exclusively with gorgeous people, prance around drunkenly with said gorgeous people in the most eclectic clothing and in the hippest clubs of one of the most exciting cities in the world, and yet be utterly and intolerably BORING. Shallowness and self-absorption are forgivable, and so is the seriousness with which the characters took themselves and their thoughts on whether bubbles or planets serve as better analogies for relationships, which they genuinely seemed to believe were profound and original. The complete lack of humour, however, left me so bored that I was forced to make up for it by poking fun at the characters, and ultimately at the hipster subculture as a whole. This movie could have redeemed itself by providing some insight into why its characters are as vapid as they are, why they find the need to regress into the mental state of five year olds. Obviously it didn't.
  • I attended the World Premiere of "Unmade Beds" at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival. This is the second feature from writer/director Alexis Dos Santos, whose first film, "Glue" (from Argentina), was one of my Top Picks of 2006 after having had its debut in Toronto. So naturally "Unmade Beds" was a must on my list and I had high expectations. It met and exceeded them.

    The film stars Déborah François and Fernando Tielve (Carlos in "The Devil's Backbone") as two naivé young expatriots living in London, wandering souls in search of a home. Axl (Tielve) is also looking for his mysterious English father, whom he hasn't known since his hazy early childhood. His nights consist of drinking, dancing, and waking up in strange beds with even stranger people. Meanwhile, Vera (François) has her sights set on a mysterious man as well -- someone with whom she can spend a night without commitment. She is equally lost in a cold world where eye contact and a smile are a rare commodity. This is the big city, and it can be cruel as hell. Their goals are different, or are they? The pulsating indie rock soundtrack seamlessly blends with the live music performed onstage in the concert club which doubles as their crash pad. Some tunes are reprised, with common themes paralleling the pair's progress (or not) in finding what they're searching for. Watch for Tielve's mirror "performance" of Black Moustache's "Hot Monkey, Hot Ass!" It was a crowd pleaser in all the screenings I've attended, especially since its boldness is in such stark contrast to the puppy dog innocence he displays through much of the narrative.

    The visuals are especially notable, as cinematographer Jakob Ihre captures the trippy, frenetic atmosphere of the concert hall. Using mostly hand-held camera and stage lighting, with its strobes on the dance floor flashing across his staggering frame, the viewer is made to feel just as drunk and clueless as Axl. Vera is constantly in motion as well, looking equally lost and vulnerable, as she glides through crowded London streets looking for companionship. The viewer is always a close observer, almost within arm's length. We want to reach out and hug these lonely strays but we can only watch helplessly and hope they'll each end up in someone's arms.

    Writer/director Alexis Dos Santos has grown tremendously as an artist -- while "Glue" was mostly improvised, "Unmade Beds" is not although it still retains a loose unscripted feel. That's a tribute to his insightful writing as well as the sensitive performances of Tielve and François. As a team, the three have crafted a wonderful little gem that is close to perfection.
  • I went to see this film because it was described as being "young and fresh". Afterwards, I can only say it is boring and pretentious. There is no story to speak of, no dialogue apart from some vague conversations, no character development, no point.

    There is, on the other hand, a lot of loud music by bands I don't know (but are undoubtedly very hip), there are a lot of images of young people uttering would-be philosophical wisecracks, and there is a lot of partying, drinking and smoking going on.

    This could be a sort of nouvelle vague-ish, real life document about young people and the way they live, but I'm afraid it utterly fails. Or maybe I'm too old for this sort of film.

    There is one plus: wonderful Belgian actress Déborah François.
  • SnoopyStyle12 August 2016
    Spanish Axl arrives in London looking for his biological father. He finds a mattress to sleep on in a rundown building. He works for Mike in lieu of rent. He uncovers his father's identity as real estate agent family-man Anthony Hemmings and pretends to be a client looking for a flat. Vera is closed off in love and works in a bookstore. She and Axl live and party in and around the same area.

    It's disjointed and disconnected. It does have the sense of the hazy, heady days of youth. It's very rambling. I'm more interested in Axl than Vera. There is an intriguing mood for an indie but the story fades in and out. I would like for Axl's story to continue and find a compelling natural ending somehow.
  • This is a nice gentle little film. The type of indy that use to get made all of the time before producers and worthy script editors decided each film had to have a quota of gangsters, fist fights and murders. I loved the fact that we didn't have to rely on any of these to tell a story, establish characters and reach a conclusion.

    I can understand some of the harsh comments on this site coming from people who feel cheated because this quota is not there. They've seen so many films building up to getting rid of a dead body or finding somewhere to stash the loot that when they are confronted with something that simply presents the lives of ordinary people (okay ordinary but very good looking people who look like they have stumbled off the set of a Lynx advert) it is not enough for them.

    If more films like this were made and we could all learn to enjoy them then we would enjoy even more our usual diet of kiss kiss bang bang because of the variety these two types of films present. That's why I get bored with films today they all want to shock or imitate a computer game. It doesn't always have to be like that.
  • lurpak7 April 2010
    Just to reinforce what nicholsd said about this waste of celluloid. If you are one of the many arty-farty snobs that like to portray themselves as intellectual by thinking that you can see something in art that we cannot, then you will love this film. Us real world people who look for a piece of media that will take us out of the boring hum drum hours that generally pass the human race by,well then ten minutes into this film and you will realise that its just another, partial french, long winded, solemn distant stares of deep thought-ed youth drivel with over emphasised background noise, displaced conversations and shaky camera-work for added reality...blahh.Oh and look I'm twenty three minutes into it and nothing has happened, noting is going to happen. Its like "lost in translation" without the benefit of the interesting smile of bill Murray.
  • This movie makes me happy. Because the director didn't cave for a crowd pleaser nor a nonsensical festival piece. Intriguing, gentle, wonderful visuals, fantastic dialogue, kick ass soundtrack. The director accomplished to make a moving work that's light, floats but touches. It perfectly leads its naive endearing lead characters through a place and moment where everybody is in transit without being overly explanatory. Tielve & Francois are adorable, Huisman and Goldberg are no less than excellent. The soundtrack might not be your thing maybe but it completely matches the scene it is set in and has some great tracks. It sure is mine and i thought it to be grand. If you liked the movie Cashback you'll love this one too and the other way around:)
  • nicholsd14 December 2009
    I saw the first 20 minutes of this by accident, and have never been so despairing of cinema. Appalling actors trundling through a horrifically pretentious script, with a smug wannabe coolness trying to cover up a lack of talent. It had the distinct stench of first film, so to see that this director has made another before this was a real shock.

    Avoid unless you like films that make you want to stab your eyes and ears to end the pain.

    If you're wondering how I saw it by accident, I had gone to the cinema to see the re-issue of The Red Shoes, and they screwed up and showed this instead. Very big difference in quality!
  • I suppose you might say if Unmade Beds is more resemblant of anything, then it is of a final year student's concluding major piece at the back end of their filmmaking course; the moment when everything they've learnt, picked up and observed along the way to now formulates together to create something to take away with themselves post-graduation. The piece as a whole teeters on a brink separating that reaction you have when you admire the energy and motivation that has gone into producing such a film with just coming away from it somewhat infuriated at its flaws and cheap tricks. Take the instance in which one of the more dopier, or at least dopier sounding, supporting characters brings to our awareness the duality he believes he shares with another young man whom he's taken in for the duration of the film: he establishes a sharing sense of duel-existence more broadly linked to that of not really being able to make that move across a proverbial line, and commit oneself to dealing with a problem - and that either of their respective problems reflect one another's. "Don't jump until you're able to jump" the supporting act says; moments as such, apart from the fact very rarely is there any link or connection at all if the characters within the piece must verbally illustrate that there is, places the film out on a line knowing full well there will be those that'll scoff at such items or might actually be drawn into appreciation.

    The film follows two differing people on separate strands, frizzy haired Axl (Tielve) is one of them; a Spaniard from Madrid (where else in Spain?) whom has arrived in a more down-trodden part of London (where else in England?) in order to seek out his father who left both he and his mother when he was an infant. Meanwhile, Belgian (what, not French?) young-adult Vera (François) is already based in said city and goes from day to day seeking out new male partners whilst seemingly trying to battle past-mental illness. Whilst depicting these two people and their stories; the early exchanges are punchuated by these voice-overs, the sorts of voice-overs in which the mouths of the artists have been barely centimetres away at the time of recording and of which carry these terribly hushed, self-aware, throaty and self-important tones.

    Axl's arrival sees him fall in with a spaced out crowd, the sort of sub-culture that, and due to my own prejudices, I usually zone out of fairly quickly when depicted on film. The people, headed up by native Londoner Mike (Goldberg), are a droopy, drippy, hippie lot; the sorts of people whom smoke drugs, have spaced out conversations, get drunk, have cereal for lunch and attend nightclubs playing host to the sorts of bands whose members usually have hair down to their shoulders and play that biting variety of 'bad' music which isn't quite rock but isn't really pop although just seems to be embedded within the lives of people aged between 19 and 25. On the other strand is Vera, a book shop worker more preoccupied, it seems, with talking male customers out of purchasing books, thus supposedly hinting early on at respective elements of power she has over men. In short, we do not like Vera and we do not come to like her; an early sequence back at the humble surroundings she calls home seeing her move Polaroid pictures of particular men from her wall before boxing them up, labelling them and shelving them with many other boxes of such an ilk thus suggesting a track record of such activity. Her latest in anonymous lays, whom she targets and gets to know before bedding them, comes in the form of a gentleman her age whom works at the airport's security branch on the X-ray machine, and is played by Dutch actor Michiel Huisman.

    Her psychological condition of effectively bedding these anonymous men and storing records of such actions, in what appears a cocktail of nymphomania and OCD, is made only more glaring later on when she speaks of her once-childhood tendencies to branch out into schizophrenia; dialogue of which sees her speak of a one-time imaginary boyfriend hinting at that very item. There is no broader study of any greater substantial ilk to do with mental illness, nor, far more alarmingly, is there enough of a sense of there being a substantial enough demonisation of the actions Vera engages in to warrant any sort of praise; specifically in regards to that of anonymous sex, something which needs to be addressed with the utmost care on screen if it is indeed to be explored at all. On occasion, the film's over exuberance to shoot the scenes of a sexual nature in a very loving, highly eroticised manner has it veer perilously close to that of mere pornography without ever coming close to tackling the crux of its matters.

    The film's bravery or sensations of more majestic ilk that it is, in fact, about more than first appears rings false; the item of Vera and Axl being foreign is a misdemeanour: it is irrelevant and exists purely to have the film come across as something depicting something else with greater competence. One's mind darts back to 2005's Brick Lane as a film actually depicting life as a London-based immigrant in a complete and thorough fashion, Axl and Vera here might just as well be British. Unmade Beds is a wily effort, ambitious in its tone and general look as it depicts people rummaging through the lower echelons of a big city attempting to find a collative peace with one's self and life situation; but it is all too nettlesome and all too galling all too often to truly get behind without sort of wanting to wish all of those involved the best of luck with future projects.
  • This movie is the video to the soundtrack of (popular) alternative indie culture. If you compare it to movies like "Juno", this one is brilliant, has character development and plot as well... One might say its a pretentious, poor of a plot, depiction of what wannabe hipsters wanna experience in London - but you could also interpret it as an ulyssian (Joyce) depiction of how is life for house squatters, while the rest of the world is trying to make money.

    Only watch it if you like indie music, enjoy thinking back of getting drunk with your flatmates and or like rather descriptive love will win in the end movies!
  • I have never seen something more awful than this "film" (if we can call it one...). C'mon, I would justify the film director if he were 7 years old... with reserves. I am horrified about how a lot of money can be wasted in such a c**p, when there are tons of good filmmakers that can't get funds! ____________ _________________________ ___________________________ _____________________________ _______ ______________ __________________ ___________ _________________ __________________________

    Alexis Don Santos... I just want to know who pushed you into the film industry! PLEASE DON'T GO TO THE CINEMA AND/OR WASTE MONEY/TIME GIVING CREDIT TO THIS AWFUL THING (movie).