Review by Dan Skip Allen
I've been watching movies for quite a long time and I've seen a lot of films come out. Usually, you hear about great films because of word of mouth, but sometimes they slip under the radar. Ma Belle, My Beauty is one such film.
Lane (Hannah Pepper) comes to the South of France after two years away where her friend Bertie (Idella Johnson) lives with her husband Fred (Lucien Guignard). He has a band where Bertie is the lead singer. They were all in a polyamorous relationship before she left. Her coming back flares up old thoughts of the past where they had steamy relationships with each other. Some jealousies percolate to the surface between Bertie and Lane since she's been back.
They say France is famous for two things: wine and torrid romances between men and women. In the case of this film, it's woman and woman, and men and women are an afterthought. Every scene permeates love and passion. Even when a song is being sung by Johnson's character. These women are thinking of nothing but sultry lovemaking in the South of France. This kind of relationship is different, but not in France. These European countries can be quite romantic. The beaches, sunsets, and beautiful locals are perfect for love.
Marion Hill wrote and directed this indie film. She did a great job choosing the locations and setting of the film, as well as the actors who are relative newcomers. The lack of stars might make the film cheaper to produce in the end, but they were chosen very well for this steamy film. A lot of eye movements and body language go a long way to see how these women are thinking throughout various tense scenes. The sexual tensions are overflowing during them as well.
The music, notwithstanding the lead actors and their band, is very inviting as well. French songs add flavor to the story Hill and company are going for. They have a jazzy blues flavor to them. The title song, for example, is a prime example of this. It couldn't be more perfect for the film. They are perfect for this type of film. More modern popular songs probably wouldn't work in this setting.
Hill demonstrates her ability to ramp up the tension throughout the film through various conversations of what the motivations between the women truly are. Why did certain people come back? To make up for previous mistakes or get into new relationships that tear down the previous ones? The dialogue works so well among all the cast. That makes for a very good script. The actors can believe what they are saying. The passion that stems from it is incredible.
This is one of the most realistic films about love and its many variations I've seen in years. Everybody involved, from Hill to the actors Johnson, Lane, and Guignard all do their best to make this torrid steamy film as amazing as it can be. This is how you tell a story of love and romance in the South of France. Bravo to all!
Ma Belle, My Beauty is now playing in theaters.