Becks

Becks begins and ends with our eponymous protagonist making a quick getaway. We understand the first one, which comes at the end of an opening montage that subverts our expectations. She is involved in a serious relationship, which is put into jeopardy by the introduction of great distance. Her significant other finds another woman into whose bed to crawl, and the blow comes after a cross-country journey to move in together on the cusp of that significant other's new career path. The slight variation on this formula is that Becks (Lena Hall), the guitarist, is dating Lucy (Hayley Kiyoko), the vocalist, who becomes involved with another woman after moving from New York to Los Angeles for an audition on a music-themed reality-TV program.

The second getaway, which leads us into the closing credits, is a little more baffling. There is obviously a lot of tiptoeing around that one must do, when writing a review of a movie, not to give away any important details, but let us just say that the motivation for and events that transpire during that second getaway are going to cause a lot of introspection on the part of the viewer. This is a calculated risk on the part of a screenplay (by Rebecca Drysdale and directors Daniel Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh) that feels like it has been authentically borrowed from real life. Whose life that is might be rather unclear (Drysdale, whose first name already suggests a connection, shows up as a partygoer to interact with Becks in such a way that it further suggests she is talking to a version of herself), but the authenticity remains, whosever it might reference.

Whatever the case, Becks's first escape is from that intended life with Lucy to a suburb just outside St. Louis, where her devoutly religious mother Ann (Christine Lahti) has yet to reconcile fully her daughter's sexuality, even if she has had more than 15 years to do so. She claims awareness, having gone to the "gay festival," worn a rainbow T shirt accordingly, and become aware of terms like "pansexual," but one gathers from her reinvigorated devotion to Scripture that such awareness has only pushed her further away from her daughter's reality. She puts on a face of commiseration when Becks is forced, on account of having no money or house, to move back in with Mom. Lucy came from money, Ann says warningly, and no good can ever come from that.

After bumping into her high-school boyfriend Dave (Dan Fogler) - who, she jokes, was the first and last guy she ever slept with - and accepting his offer to play for small amounts of cash from a jar, Becks runs into another high school acquaintance: Mitch (Darren Ritchie). He outed Becks at prom, and now he's a well-to-do businessman with a wife and a plan to have children at some point. Becks befriends Elyse (Mena Suvari) when she and Mitch happen to come in during Becks's first performance, and guitar lessons between the two women are scheduled.

What follows is a fairly simple but undeniably observant story about a woman trying to figure out her plan for her life while she is in the prime of it and following a great disappointment. Despite the few contrivances present, the story is anchored by Hall's luminous performance (which assures that we like Becks unconditionally), some great songs (written from personal experience), and a frankness in the intimacy department that suggests adults who know what they are doing. Becks is equally perceptive and enjoyable.

Film Information

Lena Hall (Becks), Mena Suvari (Elyse), Christine Lahti (Ann), Dan Fogler (Dave), Hayley Kiyoko (Lucy), Michael Zegen (Pete), Darren Ritchie (Mitch).

Directed by Daniel Powell and Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and written by Powell, Rohrbaugh, and Rebecca Drysdale.

No MPAA rating.

90 minutes.

Released in select cities on February 9, 2018.

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