Friday, January 1, 2016

LGBT Film Review: Tangerine


It's Christmas Eve in Tinseltown and Sin-Dee (newcomer Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) is back on the block. Upon hearing that her pimp boyfriend (James Ransone, STARLET, "Generation Kill") hasn't been faithful during the 28 days she was locked up, the sex worker and her best friend, Alexandra (newcomer Mya Taylor), embark on a mission to get to the bottom of the scandalous rumor. Their rip-roaring odyssey leads them through various subcultures of Los Angeles.

My Review:

Tangerine had me when the movie opens with "Merry Christmas Eve bitch."

No, in actuality, Tangerine really had me at the instant the characters, transgender sex workers, Sin-Dee Rella and Alexandra, appear on screen in sun-drenched Hollywood. This movie's claim to fame is that it was filmed exclusively and only with three Apple iPhone 5s's along with some camera phones and software that only cost $4.99. This might seem like a gimmick, but it's not. It's because of this that makes Tangerine one impressive film. Its low budget doesn't distract or cheapen Tangerine. It enhances it, making it even more offbeat, fun, and adventurous, which is fitting for what this movie is about. A plot so simple that's packed with a lot of guts, bravado, and heart as we follow these two working ladies through the slums of LA and Hollywood in their quest at hunting down Sin-Dee's pimp/lover who did her wrong. Sin-Dee and Alexandra are rude, crude, loud, obnoxious, and sassy, but despite being rough around the edges, there's a beauty and a vulnerability about these characters that makes them not only likeable, but endearing. With the more characters and situations that these two face, the more that we care and truly believe in their warmth, kindness, friendship, and compassion. Tangerine is rewarding because of these levels, but also because of how it also shattered casting conventions, where the director hired actual trans women who had no acting experience. Kitana and Mya totally slayed in their roles and they got critical acclaim for it too.

Tangerine is a breath of fresh air, so real-to-life as it is real-to-heart, dazzling, unforgettable, and a must-see tour-de-force in every way.

** This was just added on Netflix **