Sunday, 20 June 2010


Jeannie is a wheelchair user who runs a colourful boutique. At the beginning of Beeswax, we see Jeannie meeting with a potential employee, presenting herself as an organised, authoritative figure as if to spite her public image as a ‘disabled’ person. Jeannie has a happy-go-lucky twin sister named Lauren who struggles with the concept of commitment and doesn’t seem to have much structure in her life. Her biggest plan in the pipeline is a mission to Kenya to teach English to children, a scheme which she sees as incompatible with her current relationship. The sisters live their lives separately, but constantly consult one another about work, money and love.

Director Andrew Bujalski is known as one of the bastions of the mumblecore movement, which generally sees as its enemy the artifice of cinema. Beeswax’s most impressive feat is its realism, and all of the actors embrace their roles to the point of living them, but that doesn’t amount to a great deal when the slice of life under the microscope is not particularly notable. It is thus hard to understand exactly what Bujalski wants to tell us about life beyond his fantasy that everyone dabbles in the same hopelessly charming idiolect, and a lot of the dialogue borders on preciousness. Bujalski’s previous feature, the vastly superior Mutual Appreciation, succeeded for the warmth and innocence of its protagonist, and this is perhaps what Beeswax lacks the most. Bujalski is a very promising filmmaker, and one hopes that Beeswax is an anomaly.

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