BEESWAX : the Bujalski time zone

I saw BEESWAX last night. It is director/writer Andrew Bujalski’s third feature after FUNNY HA HA and MUTUAL APPRECIATION. The plot is vague and the conflicts are subtle. And because more urgent twists and turns fail to arise and demand our attention, each small moment seems to slow down as we witness the micro-tensions of interaction. I felt like I was in a Bergman or a Cassavetes film or a combination of the two (PERSONA meets SHADOWS?), as if I had entered a different time zone or landed in an exotic place, despite the banal subject matter.

BEESWAX stars real life twins Tilly and Maggie Hatcher as the characters Jeanie and Lauren and the story revolves around their lives and relationships.  Jeanie, a paraplegic, runs a vintage clothing store and is having a dispute with her business partner.  Maggie, drifting through life, breaks up with her boyfriend, and contemplates taking a job in Africa.  None of this pays off in a traditional way and one has the sense that the story has roots that stretch out prior to the beginning and after the end.  The relationships feel like they have icebergs of history and we are just seeing the tip.

Now is that enough to keep an audience in their seats? For me it was. It doesn’t hurt that the twins are both stunning in a non-generic way and their performances are strong. They don’t rely on comedic one-liners or zingers but instead we watch the passing emotions flicker across their faces as we search for the truth.  This scratching the surface of things could be called “slight” by some critics but I found it fascinating. I’d even call it a “small moments thriller.”

Watch the trailer here: