30 October 2013 | atlasmb
A Story of Revelations
Our story starts with a young woman, Jane (Dree Hemingway), going to yard sales in search of items to brighten her drab bedroom. She meets an older woman named Sadie (Besedka Johnson)who sells her a thermos. Jane discovers that it contains about $10,000. This is the jumping off point for the story of Starlet.
The entire film is a story of revelation. We follow the natural progress of the women's lives and the development of their relationship. As they learn about each other, the viewer learns about the entirety of their lives. Jane is a cheerful woman who embraces life with a smile. Sadie is rather gruff and distrusting. The contrast in their personalities is rather a reverse of the Harold & Maude story (which the director cites as an influence).
Some of the revelations are mundane, some are surprising. Through it all, the unlikely pair forges what might be a friendship. The film is about the nature of friendship. What does it mean? Does it entail responsibilities as well as benefits? What are the commonalities necessary for friendship?
The director, Sean Baker, seeks cinema verite. The result feels like a slice from the lives of two distinctly different women. One is at the beginning of her adult life, the other is at the end. But neither has a real family, so there may be common ground after all.
Meslissa Maeve is a standout as Jane's roommate, Melissa. And a special mention should go to Boonee who plays Jane's dog, Starlet (actually the pet of the director) and steals some scenes.
The last revelation comes in the final scene. It is a scene much discussed on the message boards. Personally, I loved the scene. It is beautiful and revelatory at the same time.