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Sequins (Unrated)

Release Date: May 27th (NYC-Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Angelika Film Center), by New Yorker Films.
The Cast: Lola Naymark, Ariane Ascaride.
In French with subtitles.

BASIC PREMISE: A pregnant teenager (Naymark) tries to hide her pregnancy from her friends and family while working as a embroidery assistant for a lonely woman (Ascaride).

ENTERTAINMENT VALUE: The cinematography is very lush and consistently beautiful and even dream-like. There is one breath-taking scene that shows the sequins that the teenager expertly embroidered. Sequins are shiny, disc-shaped beads that are sown onto clothing--an intricate work of art, just like this film. The musical score is also very pleasant and appropriate. The plot is predictable and occasionally contrived, but it gets more suspenseful as the teenager gradually befriends the lonely woman. It would have more tension if there were more scenes with people doubting her pregnancy and showing how she defends herself. Lola Naymark is a decent young French actress, but the real acting treasure is Ariane Ascaride. Despite that her character is isolated from society and depressed, she still shows unexpected warmth and kindness which is only because of her superb acting ability. She shines in this film more than any sequin does.

SPIRITUAL VALUE: The relationship between the teenager and her lonely, embroidery boss is very touching--especially the way that both show kindness toward one another. There is one very inspiring scene where the teenager turns down a large sum of money from her boss because of the principle behind it. The spiritual connection between the two women and their love of embroidery is heartfelt and touching. It is a pure joy to behold a beautiful film about a difficult subject matter without the use of sex or violence. Ultimately, the film would have been much more emotionally powerful and interesting if there were more scenes between the teenager and emotionally distant mother. Her boss acts in many ways like a mother to her, but the film doesn't go deep enough with that idea. Nonetheless, the relationship between the two women is still uplifting and believable.

INSULT TO YOUR INTELLIGENCE: It is hard to believe that so many people don't realize that the teenager is pregnant. It's easy to hide it at first, but when her stomach swells up, it doesn't seem plausible that people are still convinced she is simply ill.


THE BOTTOM LINE: A beautifully-shot film that is occasionally implausible and lacks tension, but it is full of small surprises, subtleties, and wonderful acting that make it a simple joy to behold.

RECOMMENDED WAY TO WATCH: Movie Theater (1st Run)

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