Film Review by Fiore
I enjoy the summertime not only for the multi-million dollar blockbusters, but for the multitude of smaller, independent films released in an effort to catch critics’ eyes before the glut of the coming awards season. HONEYGLUE is such a film; offering a template tragic love tale with a twist. Unfortunately, without the twist, movie offers nothing out of the ordinary. It’s plot twist, which incorporates alternative lifestyles, is implemented solely to engage the members of the H3L. It adds nothing unique to the story, nor does it provide an integral plotline.
Ever since Eric Segal wrote LOVE STORY, and it was envisioned by Ryan O’Neill and Ali MacGraw, movie viewers, especially romantics, gobble up tragic love tales. Recently, Hollywood producers even seduced the young teen audience with this type of story in THE FAULT IN OUR STARS and ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL. HONEYGLUE follows the same template involving a young couple who fall madly in love, but the girl is dying from inoperable cancer, with only months to live. The twist is while the girl is relatively normal, her love interest is gender confused and rudder-less on the sea of life.
A small, independent company, Zombot, is responsible for HONEYGLUE. It is the collaborative effort of three friends who met over social media. The trident of Zombot, Anya Remizova, James Bird and Adrian Mather, as with most independent productions, serve multiple roles in the film. Remizova is producer and composer; Mather is producer and main star; and Bird serves as Director and Screenwriter.
Mather is Morgan, a young lady living on borrowed time due to an inoperable brain tumor. To celebrate her birthday, she lies to her parents about her evening plans and attends a mod-scene nightclub, rather than attending the theatre. While there, she meets Jordan, played by Zach Villa. Jordan is a thief who alibis his leeching lifestyle by denouncing labels and living under the mantra that everything, and everyone is valuable. A boy who scourers the bars for women while wearing gothic make-up and skirts, he picks Morgan as his next victim. Cupid’s arrow slices through both of them, and an intended heist transforms into a torrid, though brief love affair.
Bird resorts to blatant stereotypes in order to present his proclamation of love. Morgan’s family attempts, as best they can, to cope with Morgan’s predicament, even to the point of reluctantly accepting Jordan. Morgan’s father, Dennis, is an ex-detective. The symbolism of the authority figure of society and his reaction to the gender confused Jordan is as subtle as Godzilla in Tokyo. Dennis is played by Christopher Heyerdahl, best known for his role on AMC’s HELL ON WHEELS. He is a tour de force in HONEYGLUE and is solely responsible for making this film watchable.
Rounding out the cast are Booboo Steward, as Bailey, Morgan’s brother; Jessica Tuck as her mother; and Amanda Plummer in a cameo role as Jordan’s mom. Steward is best known for his work in the TWILIGHT film series. There is no explanation how he came to be Morgan’s brother, and even when Jordan asks how she has an Asian brother, the situation is given short shrift, reemphasizing the film’s main point that love is all that matters, which, frankly, John Lennon told us decades ago.
KEY SCENES TO LOOK FOR:
1. The pizza dinner scene
2. Jordan and Morgan’s first encounter.
Even though I loathe watching them, I’m a sap for a good romance tale. HONEYGLUE, however, just doesn’t fit the bill. It seems more intent on making a social comment than an empathetic one. Jordan is more of distraction than a cause celebre. He pontificates fortune cookie platitudes as if, in some pathetic manner, they will render gravitas to his lifestyle. He can only illicit empathy from those of similar thought, causing a major distraction to the movie’s overall theme. As evidence, once Morgan succumbs to her illness, Jordan becomes a non-entity. No one cares about the character, nor his further adventures. He simply falls off the celluloid.
As an additional gimmick, Bird scripts a sub plot about dragonflies and honey bees in a comic book, written by Jordan. Jordan dropped out of the local art school because he didn’t have talent. He does not admit that, but viewers will know once his drawings and story are revealed. While Morgan thinks Jordan’s story is marvelous, it is simplistic and attempts too hard to fit in the main plot, like the proverbial round peg into the square hole. It belongs more on an episode of Fracktured Fairy Tales (no pun intended) than as a serious life analogy.
To be sure there is an audience for HONEYGLUE, albeit a small one. Personally, I would not sit through it again. Bird’s writing is often torn between the intended love tale, and his social commentary on the gender confused. The conflict is apparent in the film. While he does purloin segments from other films, such as PULP FICTION and last year’s TANGERINE, the plot twist is presented in a distracting manner, rather than an entertaining one. HONEYGLUE limits its audience with its alternative lifestyle theme, and that theme is not sufficient to camouflage a trite tragic love tale.
THE GRADE FOR HONEYGLUE = F