More and more films premiere on Video on Demand — if they don’t simply bypass a theatrical release altogether. Because VOD reviews are often scarce and hard to find, Criticwire created VODetails, a recurring column to help you figure out whether a new VOD release is worth your hard-earned dollar. This time we’re looking at “Starlet,” a Spirit Award winner about the unlikely friendship between two women — not a biopic about the life and career of Soleil Moon Frye.
Directors: Sean Baker
Cast: Dree Hemingway, Besedka Johnson, James Ransone
Criticwire Average: B (out of 26 critics)
Official Synopsis: “‘Starlet’ explores the unlikely friendship between 21 year-old Jane (Hemingway), and 85 year-old Sadie (Johnson), two women whose worlds collide in California’s San Fernando Valley. Jane spends her time getting high with her dysfunctional roommates, Melissa and Mikey, while taking care of her Chihuahua, Starlet. Sadie, an elderly widow, passes her days alone, tending to her flower garden. After a confrontation between the two women at Sadie’s yard sale, Jane uncovers a hidden stash of money inside a relic from Sadie’s past. Jane attempts to befriend the caustic older woman in an effort to solve her dilemma and secrets emerge as their relationship grows.”
“If you’re in the mood for a movie that rewards an attentive, intelligent viewer, it’s a joyous experience.”
“An interesting effort from indie filmmaker Sean Baker (this is his fourth feature), and signals the arrival of Dree Hemingway as one to watch.”
“It’ll have you pretty convinced early on that you’re watching yet another formulaic ‘American indie,’ but as director Sean Baker slowly shows his cards, it becomes increasingly intriguing and surprising.”
“Performances so effective they’re enough all by themselves.”
“A big plot twist can’t save this formulaic indie.”
“Starlet” is now available on VOD.