Call it bravery, call an act of extraordinary egoism: Either way, writer-star Stephanie Bennett's dramatization of her personal descent into post-breakup perdition has a morbid appeal that's tough to shake. After a seven-year relationship came to an end, a hurt and lonely Bennett found herself lost in a fog of sex and booze; so, in true L.A. fashion, she...read more
Call it bravery, call an act of extraordinary egoism: Either way, writer-star Stephanie Bennett's dramatization of her personal descent into post-breakup perdition has a morbid appeal that's tough to shake. After a seven-year relationship came to an end, a hurt and lonely Bennett found herself lost in a fog of sex and booze; so, in true L.A. fashion, she decided to turn her experience into a warts-and-all screenplay. She plays a single schoolteacher named Samantha, who we first meet perched on a toilet. Drunk and high, Samantha's at a party with her boyfriend, Anthony (Jeramy Guillory), but she's soon making out with a friend (Niklaus Lange) in a back bedroom. Anthony's understandably upset, but he's in for an even bigger surprise the following morning when, hung over and miserable, Samantha pulls the plug on their relationship; she claims she needs to be on her own for a while. Samantha moves out, immediately has sex with her new neighbor (Billy Ray Gallion), then heads home to Texas for a little Samantha time. When she returns to L.A., she decides she's been alone long enough and gives Anthony a call. But it's too late; in the few days since she's been gone, Anthony's found himself a nice, stable, non-manipulative girl (Laura Katz). Samantha's crushed and, between drunken binges that usually end in sex with men she barely knows, starts leaving psychotic messages on Anthony's answering machine. Lonely and depressed, Samantha free-falls deeper into the kind of drunken despair that a combination of self-pity and self-loathing can bring on. She takes a booty call from a greasy guy who robs her after they have sex (Tom Votorino, who's quite good), she shows up to work hung over and her friends start getting concerned with good reason. Shot on the cheap on video, the film has the raw look and feel of a Dogme95 production and all the morbid fascination of an emotional meltdown. There's some real talent here: It's no surprise that Bennett should have little trouble playing herself, but the film is also extremely well edited by videographer Geoffrey Pepos. Co-writer/director Henry Barrial ups the realism ante by working in such documentary conventions like introductory subtitles and staged interviews, but the film doesn't need it. In a film in which the star talks graphically about the size of her vagina and ex-lovers appear as themselves to call her a whore, there might be such a thing as too much honesty.
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