‘Giving Birth to a Butterfly’ Evaluation: Melancholy and Menace
“Giving Birth to a Butterfly,” Theodore Schaefer’s fantastically peculiar debut characteristic, strikes a steadiness between tender and vaguely unsettling, an impact equally achieved by the work of David Lynch. I hate to make use of “Lynchian,” a time period often — and slovenly — invoked for movies with a merely surrealist bent. But Schaefer’s movie, additionally steeped in a distinctly American nostalgia, greater than deserves the outline.
In this uncanny indie, we’re plunged into an American no-place, the place a suburban father, Daryl (Paul Sparks), plans to open a diner regardless of not having any cash; and the place a former actress named Monica (Constance Shulman, channeling Norma Desmond in “Sunset Boulevard”) prepares for an enormous interview that can by no means occur. Opposite these tragic figures is Daryl’s spouse, Diane (Annie Parisse), and Monica’s daughter Marlene (Gus Birney) — two girls worn down by the follies of their family members.
Marlene is pregnant, and her boyfriend Drew (Owen Campbell) — Diane’s son — desires to lift the child although he’s not the organic father. Diane, a pharmacist, bristles on the concept. Daryl’s restaurant scheme has the couple pinching pennies, and worse, Diane quickly discovers that her checking account has been drained by on-line scammers. She was duped, she admits to Marlene, led astray by the type of optimism that blinds.
The two girls observe down the id thief — a GPS level on Diane’s laptop flashes in the midst of a wonderfully spiral street — and head to the ominous location.
They bond throughout the drive over, although their heady dialogue works solely considerably. Paradoxically, it leaves little room for ambiguity amid photos, captured on lush 16mm by the cinematographer Matt Clegg, that lovingly summon the strangeness of on a regular basis life (pet fish, spilled fruit, and a couple of pair of twins). The mannered, deliberately stilted performances give the drama a stagey really feel, which vibes with the movie’s ethereal aesthetics. But the pressured profundity of the “Butterfly” script undermines the movie’s enthralling sense of environment, which drips with melancholy, menace and surprise.
Giving Birth to a Butterfly
Not rated. Running time: 1 hour 17 minutes. Watch on Fandor.