BFI Flare Film Review of BECKS

BFI Flare operates its festival under three strands; mind, body and heart. Each strand contains a number of features and shorts.

In the Hearts segment this year is an amazing feature with a spectacular soundtrack that will have you searching out the songs when you have finished.

The story of Becks is inspired by Alyssa Robbins' own life, and features songs written by her and Steve Salett.

Synopsis

After a devestating breakup, a singer-songwriter moves in with her strictly Catholic mother and forms an unexpected friendship with the wife of an old rival.

2018, USA

  • Starring Lena Hall (Becks), Dan Fogler (Dave), Mena Suvari (Elyse) and Christine Lahti (Becks' Mum).
  • Directed by Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell
  • Screenplay by Rebecca Drysdale, Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell
  • Produced by Alex Bach, Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell

Awards

Winner of Best Film in the US Fiction Award at the LA Film Festival, 2017

Elizabeth Rohrbaugh and Daniel Powell won the Emerging Director Award for New Filmmakers Forum at the St Louis International Film Festival, 2017

Watch the trailer


Film Review

Becks started off well for me; it had an unusual start for lesbian film... it began at the end of a relationship with band co-star Lucy moving from New York to LA ahead of Becks, who then packs up her life and follows, only to find Lucy in their new apartment with another girl. Becks ends up moving back to her Mums in her childhood home.

The film has a great script, with some brilliant writing, my favourite lines include:

Becks to her Mum:

"I think you and I have different definitions of a women's group"

Becks to Elyse in the bar:

"Sometimes you've got to taste the sausage before you know you're a vegan"

The role of Becks is performed by Tony Award Winning Broadway Star Lena Hall (of Sex and the City Movie) and her amazing voice and guitar skills provides a great soundtrack to the film.

Becks performs in her best friend Dave's bar (he also happens to be her first, and last, boyfriend) to an almost empty room. 

Mena Suvari (of American Beauty and American Pie fame) stars as Elyse, who works in a local shabby chic second hand clothes shop - Fleur De Lis. Becks meets Elyse when she is checking out a second hand leather jacket that she cannot afford.

Each night at the bar we hear Becks performing her lesbian folk rock songs to have increasing audience. After meeting Elyse, that evening she turns up in the pub with three of her friends. It turns out that Elyse is married to an old school friend of Becks, known as Mitch the Bitch.

Elyse is bored of her house wife and so signs up for guitar lessons from Becks after a little persuasion from her friends.

The scene where Elyse sets up Becks with Amy (the only other lesbian they know) at a garden party - queue the usual conversation about how just because you're both lesbians you must like each other and immediately move in! They also discuss how lesbian is not a particularly positive word. Sadly they do nothing to counter this argument.

Amy takes Becks to the local gay hangout, which of course is a bar with red lighting, loud music and lots of drinking. Despite her mum previously saying any woman with eye liner has something to hide, Becks ends up drunkenly going home a woman with large eyeliner and a somewhat cute teddy bear tattoo.

Following a succession of successful gigs, Becks takes her Mum shopping and spends $372 on clothes in attempt to update her mum into the current century; and Elyse gifts Becks the leather jacket that Becks liked when they first met, saying that she didn't charge enough for her guitar lessons.

You can see the growing friendship between Elyse and Becks start to grow as they hang out playing pool. Becks shares her coming out story with Elyse. At this stage Becks is still checking out her ex on social media, clearly not yet moving forward on her personal journey.

Becks' ex ends up on Rock or Walk on The Rainbow Network, which appears to be a US gay version of The Only Way is Essex. Seeing her on TV fighting with the girl she left Becks for appears to spur Becks to move on, and to try a new hairstyle.

Elyse and Becks perform at the bar after Becks informs Elyse that it is a mandatory part of the guitar lessons. It is a beautiful song, and a lovely scene with a lot of chemistry. They are so emotional after the performance that they end up kissing and fucking after out the back. Despite being fully clothed and only a head shot, it was actually a really well shot and well-acted scene. It was all done in one shot which allowed for great intimacy.

By far the most awkward and also hilarious is when Becks' Mum walks in on Becks taking Elyse from behind with a strap on - definitely my favourite scene in a film!

I also particularly love the scene where Becks is talking to Mitch, who tells Becks to keep doing what she is doing as it is making Elyse very happy!

This film has a great script, an awesome soundtrack and a strong cast.. what more could you want?

Does Elyse leave her husband for Becks? Will Becks get her happy ending? You'll have to watch it to find out.


Song list:

  • Uncanny Valley
  • Something I Don\t Get
  • Daddy
  • Have Mercy
  • It's Easy
  • Rabbit Hole
  • Scarlett Letter Sidewalk
  • Home
  • Drifting into Orange
  • The Hoax
  • Turquoise Heart
  • Come Around any Time
  • You Snooze You Lose
  • All I Know
  • Something More
  • Talking Loud

BECKS is programmed as part of the HEARTS strand: Films about love, romance and friendship

Screenings of BECKS

You can see BECKS at BFI Flare on Thursday 29 March, 18:30 NFT1 and Saturday 31 March, 16:00 NFT3

THE FULL FESTIVAL PROGRAMME

The full 2018 BFI Flare programme is available here(link is external), but highlights of additional activities to the film screenings include:

  • Talks with established film and television professionals who are leading the way in LGBTQ+ representation on screen.
  • Workshops and Labs focusing on creating LGBTQ+ media with specific sessions around challenges in development, funding and exhibition.
  • Networking opportunities throughout the Festival with a range of receptions with film and television professionals included in the Delegate Package. 

BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival 2018About BFI Flare

BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival, formerly known as the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival, is the biggest LGBT film festival in Europe. It takes place every spring in London, England

www.bfi.org.uk/flare