Year Released: 2005
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 79 minutes
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“Barmaids” is a tough film to watch — not because it’s bad, though.
It’s difficult to sit through because it’s very true to life, and that can be very painful. It’s a challenge to watch people, who are sometimes selfish and manipulative, constantly make bad decisions despite knowing that the advice they are getting is right but very unappealing to whatever fantasy world they live in. It makes for a fascinating film even though no substantial conclusion is reached.
Alex (Simon Boisvert) is a filmmaker who is engaged to a Lyne (Caroline Gendron), who is co-dependent and an emotional wreck. She’d give her life for Alex, but he really couldn’t be bothered because he’s got his eye on barmaid and aspiring actress Isabelle Alise Beaumont). Isabelle is looking for a man, but not someone like Alex. That doesn’t stop her from sleeping with him, however, which leads him to believe there is a relationship brewing. As you can guess, the marriage is off and things go bad.
The underlying message of this film, often spoken by the close circle of barmaids in Alex’s life, is that men and women have no idea what they really want. When they do discover it, they realize it isn’t what they were really looking for and therefore will never be satisfied. Oddly enough, the happiest and most satisfied character in the film, Sonia (played by the beautiful Natasha M. Leroux), refuses to get serious with any man (though she’ll have sex with one at a moment’s notice). She’s one of the more well-adjusted characters in the film because she’s the only one who is really honest about her feelings and intentions.
As with real life, there are no pat endings here, just little lessons. One thing that is brutally obvious is that actions that seem fine in your teens and early twenties start to seem desperate and pathetic later on in life, and that may bother some people.
“Barmaids,” which is a title that tells you very little about the film, is a sleeper. It’s not controversial enough to get a buzz, and it doesn’t have any of the flash necessary to worm its way into entertainment magazines. What it does have, though, is a solid story that will hold up over the years. See it … if you can find it.
Posted on November 1, 2005 in Reviews by Doug Brunell
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