People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different. In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all. Read on!
Zoe Kazan is a bit of an up-and-coming indie star and prior to hearing about The Pretty One I had no idea what she even looked like. If she’s in it though I’m pretty sure it’s one part twee, one part pretty, and all parts quirky.
The Pretty One battles with the same problems all indie films do – it’s too quirky for it’s own damn good. The story of an awkward, stay-at-home twin who steps in to the shoes of her prettier, cooler twin sister after a terrible car accident isn’t bad by any means. Far from it actually. Director Jenee Marquet has a beautiful, almost fairy-tale-like aesthetic and she applies it liberally in the film. The colors are beautifully saturated and the very unique Zoe Kazan seems to pop off the screen. Kazan herself puts in a fantastic performance, one part awkward cuteness, one part broken sadness, that raises her above the sort of muddled thematic tones of the story. If anything, Marquet doesn’t know exactly what to do with her attractive palate and solid cast (Jake Johnson is particularly good as Laurel’s (Kazan) bookish neighbor and paramour) throwing them all together in a story that wants to be about loneliness and loss and learning who one really is, but never really gets above it’s twee-ness. It might actually be that Marquet tries for too much, introducing a wide cast of characters and situations that muddle the narrative arc of Laurel and her family. It’s only Marquet’s first film though, and if anything, it promises a director who with the right script and cast could put together something really stunning.
Keep an eye on Marquet, she’s got something special, she just hasn’t made it yet.