“Becks” review: You won’t want to miss this gem of a film

After being a darling of the festival circuit, Becks, starring Tony winner Lena Hall, Mena Suvari and Christine Lahti is finally in select theaters and available on digital platforms. This bittersweet indie film is written by Elizabeth RohrbaughDaniel Powell, and Rebecca Drysdale, and directed by the team of Powell and Rohrbaugh. At times it’s laugh out loud funny when it’s not tugging at your heartstrings. Above all, it’s one of the more relatable films about being a lesbian that I’ve seen. Becks, out titular protagonist has given up everything for love only to find herself with a whole lot of nothing.

 

Becks (played by heartthrob and uber talented Lena Hall) follows her girlfriend Lucy (a small part played with panache by out actor and musician Hayley Kiyoko) to LA, only to find that everything has changed in the two weeks they have been apart. With a broken heart, empty checking account and her tail between her legs, Becks heads to her mother’s home in Minnesota to heal and regroup. While there, she begins playing at her old best friends bar and giving guitar lessons. Her most enthusiastic student is Elyse (Mena Suvari), a vintage store owner who is married to Becks’ former high school bully. Through their lessons, the two women bond until their connection and attraction is undeniable.

In between all of this romantic drama, Becks and her mother struggle to find the balance of their relationship now that Becks is an adult and out lesbian. Her mother struggles with Becks sexuality, but more than anything, wants her daughter to make choices that don’t involve self-destruction.

Lena Hall is perfection as Becks, with an easy swagger and terrific comic timing. There is a lot of music in Becks, though I would hesitate to call it a musical as some other reviews have. I’d liken it more to the hit Irish film, Once, in that respect. Hall gets to show off her tremendous vocal chops, but even more so, what a well-rounded actress she is. Mena Suvari is a real delight as Elyse, and will make you wonder why we haven’t seen more of her as she’s matured from a teen ingenue in films like American Beauty and American Pie to captivating adult actress.

 

Hayley Kiyoko (who was cast right before she became a huge queer icon) makes the most of her small part, which leaves a lingering presence throughout the film in flashbacks and in Becks’ heart and mind.

 

 

In many ways, Becks is the kind of indie lesbian-centric film I’ve been hoping to see more of. Organic, funny, well-crafted and performed. It gives me hope that 2018 will be a turning point in funding for lesbian, bi, and queer stories in film, especially with Disobedience and The Miseducation of Cameron Post on the horizon. If these films do well, which I anticipate they will, it will hopefully open doors for many more filmmakers to make all kinds of LGBTQ stories that reflect more of our community.

Becks is in select theaters, VOD, and iTunes now. Check back next week for my interview with writer and director Elizabeth Rohrbaugh. 

 

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