Becks is the latest entry into a dramatic subgenre in which an adult prodigal daughter returns to her backwater hometown in a somewhat washed-up situation. Examples include Young Adult, Colossal, and from last year’s BFI Flare, Heartland, which Becks most resembles. The almost oppressive familiarity is a weakness that prevents the film from becoming anything more than mediocre.
It opens well, with intercutting providing an elegant means of conveying backstory in a fitting music video-like style – Becks (Lena Hall) is a guitarist. Like Heartland, Becks is as much a bicurious story as it is a gay one, featuring the ultra-recognisable face of Mena Suvari in a fairly out-of-type role. The problem with this is that for much of the runtime ostensibly straight characters looking for a bit of experimentation threaten to dominate a film potentially misleadingly billed as queer. Becks, though, just about holds it together; it is appropriately named for its protagonist whose point of view is favoured throughout. More amusingly, the screenplay has its tongue firmly in its cheek when presenting several painfully ignorant conversations Becks has with rather sheltered heteronormative housewives, and a less than subtle only-lesbians-in-town set up.
The supporting characters are pretty underwritten (prodigal returning does double duty in the form of Becks’ brother as well), though Dan Fogler, in the film’s most surprising piece of casting, gives a fun performance which might make you wish he was your bartender.
Sadly, Becks and Elyse’s (Suvari) relationship trajectory is both predictable and unconvincing (an impressive feat, really), until the conclusion presents the only conceivable ending that would have rang true.
An inconsistent take on a somewhat overdone premise. Becks features likeable performances yet doesn’t do enough to make it a must-see. For a better, sexier take on a similar theme, try Below Her Mouth on Netflix.
CAST: Lena Hall, Wally Dunn, Isabella Farrell, Dan Fogler, Caden Gerb, Mena Suvari
DIRECTORS: Daniel Powell, Elizabeth Rohrbaugh
WRITERS: Rebecca Drysdale, Daniel Powell, Elizabeth Rohrbaugh
SYNOPSIS: After a crushing breakup with her girlfriend, a Brooklyn musician moves back in with her Midwestern mother. As she navigates her hometown, playing for tip money in an old friend’s bar, an unexpected relationship begins to take shape.