For Reel


Tangerine (2015)
January 8, 2016, 7:40 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Sean Baker
3.5 Stars
TangerineThe production of Tangerine has demanded attention as an example of cutting edge filmmaking, having been shot with a modified iPhone and involving transgender non-actors who spit their ferocious dialogue with an unabashed sense of street-level realism. And yet, even if Tangerine does arrive as an advancement in low-budget filmmaking and as a noteworthy example of LBGTQ cinema, what makes it particularly special is that it plays as a centuries-old farce, rife with coincidences and all culminating with a fiery brouhaha in which all of the characters convene in a single location. Furthermore, as a film that takes place on Christmas, it is as sentimental as they get, ending on a note of incredible empathy in which one character reaches out to another in a touching, crucial moment. Sometimes, the humor in Tangerine seems to invite a certain “freak show” appeal–the performances and situations are often over-exaggerated, such as the much anticipated appearance of a boyfriend pimp (James Ransone) who ends up giving the film its most pathetic and hilarious performance. And yet, even if Baker does seem to occasionally indulge the humor involved with these complicated portrayals of class and gender (in a way that feels infinitely more honest than a completely palatable entertainment like The Danish Girl), it is carried through by its fundamental humanity, being a film about how identities are shaped by not only the way we see the world, but how we relate to our communities around us.