Starlet 2012

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(7) IMDb 6.7/10
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Starlet explores the unlikely friendship between a 21-year-old aspiring actress Jane (Dree Hemingway) and elderly widow Sadie (Besedka Johnson) after their worlds collide in California's San Fernando Valley. Jane spends her time getting high with her dysfunctional roommates and taking care of her chihuahua Starlet, while Sadie passes her days alone, tending to her garden. After a confrontation at a yard sale, Jane finds something unexpected in a relic from Sadie's past. Her curiosity piqued, she tries to befriend the caustic older woman. Secrets emerge as their relationship grows, revealing that nothing is ever as it seems.

Starring:
Besedka Johnson, Boonee
Rental Formats:
DVD

Product Details

Discs
  • Feature ages_18_and_over
Runtime 1 hour 39 minutes
Starring Besedka Johnson, Boonee, Dree Hemingway
Director Sean Baker
Genres Drama
Studio Elevation Sales
Rental release 10 March 2014
Main languages English

Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By William Mason TOP 50 REVIEWER on 5 Mar. 2015
Format: DVD
Dee is a very pretty, friendly, twenty-something blonde lady who has a Chihuahua (the titular Starlet), and likes bright orange nail varnish. She works in the adult entertainment industry and has two similarly aged housemates, Melissa, who's self-obsessed and behaves like a ten year old, and Mikey, who's a pushy, cynical chap and fairly volatile. The pals spend a lot of time playing X-Box games and taking drugs.
Dee buys a garish thermos from a yard sale organised by a cantankerous, craggy featured sixty-something lady, named Sadie. Back home afterwards, Dee discovers that the flask is jammed full of rolls of hundred dollar bills. Dee goes back to the crabby old lady's house, and proving the adage that opposites attract, the two of them very slowly and uneasily form a tentative friendship (at one point, they have a misunderstanding with the result that the old lady uses Mace on her new young pal).
At the mid-point of the movie, you see Dee starring in one of her porn films. It's very graphic, showing full penetration. It's also intensely sexy, because the film has already by that point made Dee a very well drawn and engaging character, which makes the erotic segment all the more intimate and effective.
This quirky film is oddly compelling. It has a determinedly gentle pace and is very much character driven. The lovely film score is chilled out and very cool. The acting is superb, especially by the two lead ladies. The script is sassy and the movie is flawlessly shot. All in all, it's a charming, deceptively engrossing study in human friendship, which demonstrates that two people can become close friends irrespective of age, background, education, lifestyle and interests. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 50 REVIEWER on 12 July 2014
Format: DVD
This is one of those films that is absolutely unassuming and yet totally engrossing. It stars Dree Hemmingway as Jane a 21 year old worker in the `adult entertainment industry'. She buys a Thermos in a yard sale one day and on getting it home finds that it is stuffed with cash. She tries to take it back to the cantankerous old woman, whom she bought it from, but is rebutted.

So she engineers a way to be a `Good Samaritan' to Sadie (the late Besedka Johnson) with her faithful lapdog in tow - this is `Starlet' of the film title. What starts out as marked for failure in the relationship department soon blossoms into a real friendship. However, Jane lives with Melissa and Mikey - Melissa is one of those people who think the Universe revolves around them and everyone is here to do her a favour; so she finds it strange that her `besty' is hanging with an old lady and wont let it lie - to say more is straying into the realms of plot spoiling.

As I mentioned this is a film that plays out slowly but it is interesting all the way and actually quite a lot does happen. Dree Hemmingway is superb as is the pooch but then there are convincing performances from everyone. Director Sean Baker has made a film that will stand the test of time and has a subtle yet simple message about friendship. If you like your films a bit quirky and are prepared to take a risk then I think you will be happily surprised with Starlet.
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Format: Blu-ray
One would think there's not much more to say about the empty life of druggy, fringy youth in L.A.'s San Fernando valley. But this film messes with our expectations in lovely ways, and ends up as a comedy-drama that's human and surprising.

Calling a film like this 'little' is no pejorative. If it was 'bigger' (budget, stars) it probably would have had it's jagged edges shorn off, and with them would have gone much of it's special-ness.

The acting is terrific. Dree Hemingway makes the air-headed, hottie lead wonderfully vapid and annoying – at first – and lets us only slowly come to appreciate her humanity underneath. Besedka Johnson, in her film debut as the 85 year old that Hemingway stumbles into an uneasy friendship with makes her character equal parts spiky defensive exterior and vulnerable, needy center, giving reality and depth to this sad, touchy recluse.

The photography is also very evocative; its ugly, bleached color and slightly off-kilter but deliberate framings are far more interesting than is common in a micro-budget indie. And the film makes some brave choices, like a few seconds of extreme and un-simulated sexuality that makes points about character and our perceptions by being both shocking and banal at the same time.

My only real frustrations were that a few of the plot twists felt forced – too neat and coincidental for a film this grounded in feeling 'real'. But that was nowhere near enough of a problem to keep me from feeling very warm indeed about this odd-ball character study.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful By cjoplin on 28 July 2013
Format: DVD
this film was amazing so calm, and wasnt that intense didnt seem like there was much going on yet you were hooked, you couldnt and didnt want to look away. the performances were outstanding and from a woman who has never acted in her life aswell (besedka jones). it was just outstanding. i would reccomend this for anyone that just really wants to watch a casual film with a beautiful story behind it.
honestly just check it out (watch on netflix if unsure) then buy the dvd.
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