REVIEW: Zoe.Misplaced (Film) – BFI Flare (London)

Zoe.Misplaced

Stylish Lullaby Productions

Directed by Mekelle Mills

“Zoe’s regimented life is thrown into upheaval when she unexpectedly falls in love. In doing so, she is faced with making a series of choices whose outcomes not only impact on her independence but on the relationships with those most important to her.” – Mekelle Mills

****

The lovely thing about this film is the number of moments where you look at the screen and just think, yes, yes that is exactly what happens, that is what people do. Zoe.Misplaced was created to be relatable by a passionate director and creative team who found that there were few if any films that reflected their experiences of life. This is a film about lesbians without being “a lesbian film”. Its portrayals of love, lust and friendship would, I think, be familiar to a majority of 20 somethings.

It is set apart however by being distinctively Australian, no stereotypes but a refreshing change from northern-hemisphere centric film making. It’s blissfully familiar for those of us who may be a little homesick for the Antipodes.

As has been said by plenty of others, it’s rough around the edges, the editing and sound are a little dodgy in places. This is hardly surprising given it was made for $5000, do you have any idea how -much it costs to make a feature film these days? Honestly, it’s a miraculous achievement. Mekelle Mills has a strong hand on the tiller and her direction drives the story with unfaltering precision.

The best things about micro-budgets are that it’s all about the talent and the film is made for passion not profit. Zoe.Misplaced is a perfect example of this. Hannah Raven Smith’s understated performance as prickly but charming Zoe is sensitive and skilful. John Manning is a joy as Zoe’s blokey, affectionate brother Ben. Clementine Mills’ Nat is bewitching and un-nerving; it feels as though she is coiled tight as a spring, an electrifying contrast to Zoe’s captivating stillness. Kaska Zielinski‘s grounded and witty Coal and Ryan Bennett’s sweet and insightful Tom round out a well-chosen young cast.

The only part of the film that does not read as entirely realistic is the end. Without giving too much away, it doesn’t so much twist as do a complete about-face. It seems to come almost from a different genre to the rest of the film. That said, the portrayal is still excellent and it in no way detracts from the beautiful honesty of the film as a whole.

(C) Alexandra Birchfield 2015 (@AMBirchfield)

Alexandra is a New Zealand born actor and writer who has been living in the UK for 4 years. She spent the first three years in Glasgow studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is now living in London with two lovely flatmates and one very pampered cat.

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