Monday, July 20, 2015

Mad Women (2015)

MAD WOMEN opened in New York on the 10th and it opens in LA this Friday and to be perfectly honest it vexes me.  A well acted film with lots of meaty monologues the film is awkwardly plotted and using exploitation tactics to gain an audience despite positioning itself as a serious drama. I'm not sure which the film is (exploitation or serious drama) and I don't think writer, director and distributor Jeff Lipsky knows either.

The synopsis of the film varies depending on where you read it. At IMDB  the synopsis focuses on the mother character, in the pres material I was sent the focus is on Kelsey Lynn Stokes character named Nevada. The film as it's been released is firmly on Nevada. Nevada is trying to sort out where she belongs. She spends her days playing tennis and carrying on with a guy she met at the tennis court. She also is trying to cope with her father who has been sent to jail for statutory rape at a Jackson Brown concert and her mother who has just gotten out of jail for plotting to kill a man she said was domestic terrorist who was going to kill a doctor an abortion clinic. Her mother is running for mayor of their town on a weird libertarian platform, and if that wasn't enough she also has been diagnosed with cancer (the mother).

Carrying way too many plot lines for a two hour plus movie MAD WOMEN is best described as mad itself. Its a film that is completely off the rails in the way things run out. The circumstances of her father's crime don't really ring true (most people at the  Jackson Brown concerts I've been to are way past the age of consent), nor do the mother's political agenda/run for office. I won't even get into Nevada dating her stalker.  Very little of the film as a whole feels real. It all comes off as artificial.

It doesn't help that much of the film doesn't involve dialog, but rather long winded monologues and speeches. They don't feel as its an extended conversation, more that each character is talking at the others or that they are trying to be incredibly theatrical. I like the monologues a great deal, and I probably would love them in another film or six, I just wish there was real dialog and characters around them.

The performances  by all the cast are really good, and I completely understand why they took their roles, Lipsky's script gives them something they can chew on more than most other films.

The main selling point of the film is supposed to be an event so shocking that it will rock you to the core. The press material said that those seeing the film should reserve judgement until we get to the end of the film. Sadly  the shocking event, mother daughter incest, is a non-starter. Its so blandly handled that Nevada's boyfriend is kind of non-plused by it- he's more concerned that she's cheating on him, not that it's her mother. How are we supposed to get upset if the characters in the film aren't?

I have no clue.

I can't in good conscious recommend this film to anyone despite finding bits of the mosaic fine. Ultimately if writer/director Jeff Lipsky wasn't also a distributor this film would have stayed shelved forever.

No comments:

Post a Comment