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MOVIE REVIEW: HOT MESS (screening as part of Revelation Film Festival)

| 5 July 2019 | Reply

MOVIE REVIEW: HOT MESS (screening as part of Revelation Film Festival)
Written & directed by Lucy Coleman
Starring Sarah Gaul, Marshall Campbell, Zoe Carides
Reviewed by Shane Pinnegar
80%

Essentially a talk piece, director Lucy Coleman’s debut is a striking and insightful slice of suburban melodrama.

Sarah Gaul plays Loz, a 25-year old playwright who has been offered a grant to write a conservative work which she has no interest in. Full of angst and confusion about what to do with her life – compounded by the loneliness and sadness of extended singledom as well as friends and family who criticise the folly of her even trying to make a living as a writer – she’d rather be writing a cutting edge treatise exploring her sexuality.

Suffice to say, the patrons of her work are not taken by her dark and pithy songs about casual sex and suicide by toxic shock syndrome, and even less so when she misses her submission date after hooking up with hunky Dave at a party.

Gaul plays Loz straight down the line: she’s miserable and desperate and finds herself unable to celebrate the positives in her life, only dwell on the negatives. Yet Gaul still finds the humour in Loz, and she provides many dry laughs throughout the film, not least from the aforementioned songs. Her performance is so painfully real that it’s impossible not to cringe even while laughing heartily.

Hot Mess is a small movie in a sense, but Loz’s angst is so universal that even just a couple of troubled weeks at a crossroads in her young life becomes completely relatable in Coleman and Gaul’s talented hands.

We’ve all felt awkward trying to fit in with a new partner’s friends, or struggled with our life direction. Who wouldn’t rather pursue a passion project rather than selling out?

Both writer/director and star deserve bigger and better opportunities on the back of Hot Mess. Theirs are voices which can only be an asset to Australian (and world) cinema.

Category: Movie & Theatre Reviews

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