Very rare that I go into a movie blind, and even more rare when I go in and feel on the edge of my seat as to where things can and will go. Lara Gallagher’s Clementine wavers on the edge of suspense and love in some of the most subtle and provocative ways I’ve seen.
Described as half thriller and half coming of age, Clementine is a movie that certainly follows that description. There are plenty of moments where things don’t feel right and almost too good to be true. While audience perception may be critical due to fans of either genre perhaps not getting the full course of what could’ve been, I think that what’s brought to the table is very powerful.
The movie follows Karen (Otmara Marrero), a woman going through a breakup who then heads to her now ex’s lake house to get away. Soon after she stumbles upon Lana (Sydney Sweeney), a young and mysteriously soothing woman who stumbles around her home. On paper that might not seem very intense, and truth be told this is where the film finds its faults. The events that end up transpiring around these two could’ve used more polish in an effort to ground the world they live in. It felt like the film really wanted to shoehorn some extra suspense, and while I appreciated it, I would’ve almost preferred some stuff be left out and this turn into a full love story. Still, I very much appreciated what the script tried to do, and perhaps I’m being overly critical, but I felt for what the film wanted to do, but there was more it could’ve done with less.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
It goes without saying but the chemistry between Marrero and Sweeney is what really pushes this film to its heights. The constant mystery that Sweeney brings to Lana and the almost excessive paranoia that Marrero brings to Karen really creates this beautifully distorted painting of people who seek for more than what life has served up for them. Early on we’re introduced to Beau (Will Brittain), the lake home’s repair man, but this is one of the plots I feel could’ve used some sprucing up. There were plenty of routes and the character’s intentions just seem to get in the way of the two main characters’ connection, and not in a good way. Overall though, I couldn’t be happier with how vulnerable, how enigmatic, and overall how flawed the characters are, which makes them more real than plenty of others I’ve seen.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
I loved the sound. I feel like every scene was appropriately timed and each note was rightfully struck. The chemistry that the film felt on all pillars from characters, to setting, to sound, really hit a spot with me. I will also say, I love when a song gets used as a sort of reflection and motif in a film which is what Lightning Dust’s ‘Waiting on the Sun to Rise’ does extremely well.
While you can always think the reasoning for a lack of variety in setting is just budget, I think the choice to put most of the movie in a remote area away from the world is a very impactful one. The lake home has many serene and gorgeous places, but also very claustrophobic and scary ones too. Much like the life Karen is going through, the lake home represents a cryptic love and how she’s been struggling to just understand what is happening to her.
"...Wavers on the edge of suspense and love..."
Clementine (2020) MOVIE REVIEW
Clementine is an ambiguous film. That’s the sum up. Characters with different intentions than are spoken, thoughts that are spurred by recent and rash emotions, and at the end of the day, the feeling of just wanting to be loved. While the thriller aspects certainly help pull the movie in a very unique way, I think the chemistry between the leads is ultimately what you’re going to be wanting to watch this movie for.