Film Festival Review: Starlet
Directed by Sean Baker
Starlet is an odd-couple drama set in California’s soulless San Fernando Valley that starts with 21-year-old Jane buying a thermos in a “yard sale” from Sadie, an 85-year-old retiree. After Jane discovers something hidden in it, she insists they become friends.
It’s a contrived beginning but this May-September friendship begins to make perfect sense as you realise Jane (Dree Hemingway) could easily be a younger version of Sadie (Besedka Johnson). Just as Jane openly trades on her sexuality in the adult film world, Sadie’s heavy eyeliner, swept-up hair and forthright manner hints at her once having had similar starlet’s ambitions herself. The story unfolds slowly but is kicked along by a few startling reveals (and startlingly explicit sex scenes). Both leads are excellent, with the camera loving Hemingway’s unselfconscious beauty. A small gem.