Review by Sean Boelman
Please Baby Please is one of the two films made this year by Amanda Kramer, and this double feature proves that she clearly has an intriguing voice as a filmmaker. A complex, dense movie that would be served by repeat viewings, Please Baby Please is downright bizarre, but in a way that never ceases to surprise or entertain.
The movie follows two newlyweds who cross paths with an unusual greaser gang that ends up challenging their perception of sexual and gender identity. The film is just as bizarre and idiosyncratic as the premise sounds, but you would be hard-pressed to find a movie that has a more distinctive directorial vision.
The film’s narrative structure is very loose and experimental, which may put off some viewers, but it’s also very surreal and trance-like in a way that is quite alluring. Although all of the scenes are tied together in a thematic sense, the narrative connection can be a bit loose at times in a way that makes it unfriendly to general audiences.
That said, the vibes in this movie are absolutely immaculate. The production design and costume design are on-point, feeling perfectly ‘50s while also feeling minimalistic. It’s the perfect type of retro film — feeling like a perfect homage to the era without ever coming across as cloyingly nostalgic.
Kramer and her co-writer Noel David Taylor certainly are not subtle with the themes they explore, but that doesn’t make the movie any less important. Many films explore the ideas of sexuality and gender, but few manage to be as blunt as Please Baby Please while still being thoroughly effective.
The movie has two powerhouse leads in Amanda Riseborough and Harry Melling, and they both turn in performances that can certainly be considered career-bests. Both have very complex characters who evolve over the course of the film, requiring a great deal of emotion and range. Demi Moore also shows up in the supporting cast, but her presence is not as commanding.
The opening sequence certainly resembles West Side Story, and there are certainly many beats that are reminiscent of the classic musical. In a way, Kramer’s movie almost feels like West Side Story if Anybodys were the lead character. That said, the musical aspects of the film are minimal and it's more a stylistic similarity than anything else.
Please Baby Please is the type of movie that deserves to be seen, if only because it is entirely unique and creative. It offers a distinct take on both its genre and its themes, making it an absolute stand-out.
Please Baby Please is now playing in theaters.