What exactly is an independent film? Why do I like them so much? While Hollywood films are created to make money, indie films are created to tell stories. While Hollywood films typically have big budgets and must fit into the MPAA's rating system (G, PG, PG-13, R, NC-17, X), indie films usually have little-to-no budget and are unrated. While Hollywood films usually fit into comedy, drama, or action categories, indie films are typically difficult to fit into a specific genre because their stories often tackle unusual and taboo subjects. While Hollywood film endings are almost always predictable, indie films often have unexpected endings or leave the ending up to the viewer. I just love them!
So here are the films I saw today:
16 year old Billie learns that her mother is transitioning to become a male and that she must live with her father for a year in order to give her mother space to reinvent herself. Mother and daughter agree to spend time together every Tuesday. Billie undergoes a bit of transformation herself as she explores her independence and sexuality. The film consists of slices of life that were actually filmed on each Tuesday of the year, so physical appearances and emotional developments are authentic. 4 out of 5 stars.
Shirin is a bisexual Iranian-American who is not 'out' to her family. Her recent break-up from her girlfriend Maxine throws Shirin into a series of wild but comical escapades. Living up to her families expectations and her own desire for acceptance are not easily joined, but I laughed along with Shirin through her ups and downs. 4 out of 5 stars.
The Way He Looks
Giovana has a crush on her best friend Leonardo who is blind, but he doesn't seem to notice so she helps him navigate in order to spend time with him. Then Gabriel enters the picture, and an awakening takes place between the 2 young men. While Leonardo struggles for some independence from his overly-protective parents, he feels no struggle regarding his feelings for Gabriel. This was a beautifully acted and well-paced film. 5 out of 5 stars.
I recommend adding all 3 of these films to your Netflix queue and/or seeing them at your local art house cinema.