29 December 2014 | mikeklapak
A Pretentious Film School Take On "Manic Pixie Dream Girls"
This is just one of the most irritatingly pretentious movies I've ever seen. If you're an upper-class white person with no real problems and you can only relate to human sexuality, though, maybe this movie will appeal to you.
Barbara Niven plays a rich white woman who is sexually repressed and stuck in an unhappy second marriage with a cartoonishly evil business owner. Her one trait is that she's uptight and her husband's one trait is that he's evil. No one in this movie gets to have more than one trait.
She confesses to her friends - two happily-married women - that she's never had an orgasm. They recommend an all- female brothel for her to contact so that she can finally know what it means to enjoy herself in bed. She ends up with Paris, played by Jessica Park, who is admittedly gorgeous but is once again limited to one trait - in this case, being sexy. For the entirety of the film she speaks slowly and in a low whisper.
Her character is key to some of the film's most desperate attempts to be artsy. We get shots of her in a fetal position on a white void because the movie wants to show that she's damaged and has personal trauma. Rather than letting this come out through Clark's performance it's shoved down the audience's throat with this obnoxious imagery repeatedly, with different degrees of blatant symbolism each time. We also get embarrassing soap opera-like flashbacks to Paris' memories of her old lover, done with soft-focused and slowed footage to make them extra-hard to watch. We don't get a sense of their relationship, really; we're just being told that it was good because look, they're smiling! They're laughing! Everything's fuzzy and slow-motion so it's gotta be nice, right?
The embarrassing film school stuff is just par for the course in this movie, though. There's jump cuts all throughout the movie and they feel almost random. It's like the director saw one of Jean-Luc Goddard's movies and figured that good, artsy movies MUST have jump cuts because his films had them. They really make parts of this movie hard to watch because it just feels like the editing's a mess.
And of course there's all of the melodrama. Everything important in this movie is underscored with horrible, generic piano and string synths telling you what you're supposed to be feeling. It gets really silly when one character orgasms and there's synth flutes and choir voices hitting high notes to hammer the point home. It's just another part of the movie that feels really forced and cartoonish. It makes the sex scenes embarrassing to watch.
The romantic chemistry between Niven and Clark is non-existent but we're told at one point that they might be falling in love. 90% of their on-screen interactions are purely sexual and yet with nearly zero character development we're supposed to find their relationship meaningful. We don't really get the chance to see these two characters outside of the bedroom and when they talk, it's just endless streams of clichés about how much they enjoy each other. It feels painfully shallow. Clark's character is sexy and she's shown to have artistic talent throughout the film but she doesn't get to have a personality outside of her sexuality. We don't get a sense of what her art means to her - it's just there to make her a more attractive character. Of course, though, the film sees Niven's life changed by her relationship with Clark.
The "manic pixie dream girl" is a trope in films where one bubbly, exciting girl enters a protagonist's life and solves the protagonist's problems by being such a likable, attractive person. "A Perfect Ending" merely takes that cliché and applies it to the life of a rich white woman rather than a man. It says that everything wrong with your life can be solved by a hot, sexually-available woman. But the worst thing about it is that it has the audacity to pretend that it's something more, with all of its terrible film student editing and pretentious imagery.
There's much better films out there about bisexual and lesbian relationships. Blue Is The Warmest Color is a much better portrayal of a woman's sexual awakening with another woman and it's made by someone with a far superior grasp of film making. Watch that instead of this trite soap opera.