After the death of their mother, two sisters decide to spend a final summer in the house where they grew up. The sisters, Mary and Marie, are very close – almost too close – living a pretty much co-dependent life. Into their life comes Peter, a handyman who’s meant to be working on their house. Despite seeing the two women in bed together, he continues to flirt, and while Marie shows an interest in him, he decides he prefers Mary. But can the women’s bond survive this man’s intrusion into their life?
This first film from co-writer/director/actress Alexandra Roxo looks absolutely gorgeous, and is proof that the rise of digital filmmaking is allowing no-budget films to have a look that 10 years ago would have been impossible. The visuals are languorous and romantic, with lots of shots of nature and dust floating on the wind.
The plot meanwhile is slightly more problematic. The whole things is right on the edge of being a little too precious and pleased with itself for its own good, as if the filmmakers swallowed the early 90s American indie handbook whole and haven’t added much that’s new. All that would be okay, except that the script varies between the ridiculously obvious and rather trite, and the deliberately and needlessly oblique. There’s just a little too much of what seemed like a neat idea to the filmmakers and not quite enough thought about the end experience for the viewer.
However, there aren’t many films made about the near-incestuous relationship between two women, and on that score Mary Marie works well. Although it occasionally gets close to going too far, the central idea and the way it’s played is intriguing and keeps you watching. Although more is revealed as the movie goes on, the relationship is never completely unravelled, leaving it to the audience to extract the possibilities.
Alexandra Roxo is definitely a talent to look out for, but hopefully her next movie will bring out the strengths she hints at here and leave Mary Marie’s slight self-consciousness and trite edges behind.
Overall Verdict: An intriguing film that is definitely involving but also more than a little frustrating. There’s a lot of good in the film, but also a lot that’s rather annoying.
Reviewer: Tim Isaac