Review: ‘Entwined’

Us lesbians will go see anything," jokes one character to her date after they see an apparently bad lesbian-themed film in "Entwined." So much for that theory. This interminable, hackneyed romance is unlikely to tempt target auds, who no longer have to settle for "anything" that's out there, given the recent upswing in quantity and quality of lesbian features.

Us lesbians will go see anything,” jokes one character to her date after they see an apparently bad lesbian-themed film in “Entwined.” So much for that theory. This interminable, hackneyed romance is unlikely to tempt target auds, who no longer have to settle for “anything” that’s out there, given the recent upswing in quantity and quality of lesbian features.

University film prof Julia (Kim Ostrenko) and graduate student Elena (Veronica Sanchez) are quickly attracted to each other — despite the obvious professional conflict, and despite the fact that each is involved in a long-term, live-in relationship. But the pre-existing partners in question (Marilyn Romero as Daniella, Iris Delgado as Andie) are both rather bossy, possessive types, so there ya go.

Debut writer-helmer Raquel Cecilia Harrington drastically underestimates aud sympathy toward the soon-to-be-jilted spouses, particularly since our protags spend a very long time sneaking around and lying to them about this new involvement. Elena finally breaks the news to neurotic Daniella (who we know is “troubled” because she never appears sans wine glass and cig), but is disappointed when Julia keeps vacillating re her own breakup with Andie. (Latter pair are raising a young daughter together, though this important complication barely enters the scenario.) In the end, however, obstacles are cleared for lead duo’s climactic clinch. They even get a new puppy in the bargain.

Cliches abound, from the dialogue (“You’re seeing someone else! Oh my god, I wanna die!”) to various frolicking-in-the-park, love-by-candlelight montages. Nearly 90 minutes pass before Harrington first thinks of spicing up the torpid domestic melodramatics with a fleeting acknowledgment of Latina-vs.-gringa cultural differences, or exploiting the Miami setting via rote shopping and nightclubbing footage. When at last tensions within the two couples explode, resulting confrontations seem ridiculous.

Biggest problem, however, is script’s utter inability to create character depth — for lack of any further personality distinctions, we’re left to swallow protags’ fated-to-be-together “true love” simply because they’re less overbearing (if duller) than either of their current partners. Nonstop tittering among the S.F. Gay Festival aud suggests heroines come across as fickle and trite, an effect Harrington doubtless did not intend.

Perfs do not rise above weak writing, and snail-paced direction follows suit. Tech aspects are mediocre at best. Considering project’s general cluelessness, it’s rather surprising that such major recording figures as Ani DiFranco and k.d. lang (along with several samba stars) are featured on the soundtrack.

Entwined

Production

A Corazon Prods. presentation. Produced by Jacqueline B. Frost, Raquel Cecilia Harrington. Executive producer, Dwina Murphy-Gibb. Directed, written, edited by Raquel Cecilia Harrington.

With

Elena Cruz ..... Veronica Sanchez Julia Myers ..... Kim Ostrenko Daniella Arocha ..... Marilyn Romero Andie Sanders ..... Iris Delgado Gabriella ..... Nico Belha Sandra ..... Jennylin Duany
Camera (color, 16mm), Jacqueline B. Frost; music, Sarah Plant; sound, Byron Wilson. Reviewed at San Francisco Lesbian & Gay Film Festival, June 24, 1997. Running time: 116 MIN.
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