Reviews: She Sings To The Stars

Patrick gives us an early review of the upcoming film, She Sings To the Stars. 

Damn! I forgot the illusion where
I make conflict appear!!!
She Sings to the Stars offers a bit of a conundrum.  It’s not an exciting movie, it’s not a funny movie, it didn’t elicit any strong emotions of any kind in this viewer, and its vague and slow-moving plot offered little in the way of overall storytelling.  The dialogue was oftentimes awkward or casually racist (although that appears to be something of an intentional theme, more on that later) and the delivery of these awkward lines was equally unimpressive and uninspired.  And yet, it wasn’t a bad movie.  It hardly held my interest, and yet I somehow enjoyed the experience.  She Sings to the Stars is like a walk in a reasonably nice park on a perfectly average day.  Slow, meandering, and ultimately, without a real point, but somehow worth doing, when there’s nothing better around.

The film follows a scant three-person cast in a story set in a tiny desert home and the surrounding area.    Our characters, a marooned magician, and an aged woman of presumably Mexican Indian descent, and her grandson, an aspiring dancer, struggle with the challenges of the time spent in isolation in a desert during a dry season, and the interpersonal disputes that are certain to follow.  Despite these very real difficulties, no real tension ever develops.  Early on a harrowing event appears to set into motion the movie’s primary crisis, but that danger is more or less resolved by the natural progression of the film.  The result is an almost bizarre experience for the watcher.  With the exception of a dream sequence, the film is hardly surreal – perhaps it’s even uncommonly realistic.  The movie just happens.

Don't ask me how I washed these.
When you've got no water, you have to
make do. 
The film touches tangentially on a few themes – the impossibility of success in the entertainment industry, the supernatural mysteries of native cultures, and the casual racism of the ignorant.  Our magician is often racially insensitive when dealing with the other characters.  It never seems malicious, and is largely congruent with American media and the American “everyman’s” attitude, especially towards Mexican Americans.  Perhaps the filmmakers wished to subtly draw attention to the issue by the inclusion of these moments, or perhaps the magician is just kind of a racist.  Either way, it didn’t come across as tasteless, which is oddly refreshing.

On a technical scale, She Sings to the Stars is passable.  Its minimal budget is apparent throughout, but there are a few interesting shots and the cinematography is limited, but never obtrusive.  The streaming version that was provided for this review did suffer from some audio balance issues, making it occasionally difficult to understand the dialogue, but as referenced earlier, that may not have been a bad thing.

I’m not sure if anyone would love this movie.  I don’t entirely know for whom it was made.  If one were to sit down and scrutinize it, I doubt it would hold up very well.  But viewed casually, almost as background noise, it offers a fairly pleasant experience.

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-Patrick B. McDonald