Naked Acts

  • 1998
  • Movie
  • NR
  • Drama

Intelligent and well-meaning, this indie film about a young actress and her complicated relationship with her body is undermined by some dicey acting and an tendency to didacticism. Estranged from her mother -- a Pam Grier-like blaxplotation star named Lydia Love (Patricia DeArcy) -- newly-svelte Cece (Jake-ann Jones) wants to be an actress, but not like...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Intelligent and well-meaning, this indie film about a young actress and her complicated relationship with her body is undermined by some dicey acting and an tendency to didacticism. Estranged from her mother -- a Pam Grier-like blaxplotation star named Lydia

Love (Patricia DeArcy) -- newly-svelte Cece (Jake-ann Jones) wants to be an actress, but not like Lydia. She hopes instead to emulate her grandmother (Maranantha Quick), who passed on to Cece her firm belief that theater arts should be uplifting and moral rather than trashy and exploitative. She

scores a featured role in a pretentious indie movie called "Body of Art," about a painter and his relationship with his models, but balks at the nudity the part requires. In fact, Cece is so insecure about her body that she never takes off her clothes: not at the sauna, not when she's making love

with her boyfriend Joel (Ron Cephas Jones), not ever. Cece's journey of self-discovery, in which she confronts the source of her eating disorders and begins coming to terms with the cultural images that define and oppress women -- especially black women -- comes to a head on the set, where

she's in constant conflict with the film's bullying, pretentious writer/star (John McKie) and her fellow actresses, brash and full-bodied Randi (Natalie Robinson) and overly therapized Winsome (Sandye Wilson). A journalist turned screenwriter, director/producer/writer Brigett Davis brings an

intelligent perspective to Cece's dilemma and the larger background against which it's played out: The way in which African-American actresses find themselves embodying insidious stereotypes like the mouthy mama, the foxy lady and the bad mutha-trucker. But somewhere along the way the drama gets

lost: Body issues, race issues, mother-daughter issues, sex issues, child abuse issues, feminist issues...There are so many issues on the table that there's not much room for anything else.

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  • Released: 1998
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Intelligent and well-meaning, this indie film about a young actress and her complicated relationship with her body is undermined by some dicey acting and an tendency to didacticism. Estranged from her mother -- a Pam Grier-like blaxplotation star named Lyd… (more)

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