Sean Baker’s anticipated follow-up his acclaimed micro-budget indie “Prince of Broadway,” “Starlet,” turned heads at SXSW for its provocative subject matter, something you wouldn’t have guessed after watching the just-released first trailer for the drama.
“Starlet” stars fashion model and actress Dree Hemingway as Jane, a 21 year-old aspiring actress who insists on forming an unconventional friendship with elderly widow Sadie (Besedka Johnson) following a chance encounter at the latter’s yard sale. After Jane discovers money in the old thermos that she purchased from Sadie, the trailer spirals forward, showcasing a glimpse of the women’s relationship through a montage of bingo games, car rides, and shared conversation. In all of its innocence and subtlety, the trailer for “Starlet” seems to find its strength in the smallest of moments — and brings into question everything that isn’t revealed.
“‘Starlet’ contains enough provocative subtext to deliver on its themes about the challenges of communication,” wrote Eric Kohn in his review out of SXSW. “Unlike Baker’s previous efforts, the movie never makes obvious its trajectory, instead wandering through a series of events in search of a revelation much like Jane herself. The story retains an inscrutable tone that sometimes makes its emotional qualities feel remote, but it still delivers a powerful message about the challenge of self-diagnosis by rooting it in universal experience: Both women have reasons for keeping their baggage private.”
Music Box Films will release “Starlet” in New York and Los Angeles on November 9th.