Lily & Kat full movie review - Vacuous Dreck
Saw it at TIFF New Wave.
I have to be honest: Lily & Kat was a steaming pile of dung and there's no point pretending otherwise. I felt a frisson of joy when it ended at the anticipated moment because I had been alternately nauseated, bored and disgusted for what seemed much longer than 89 minutes, and, while the ending was predictable, there was the tiniest chance that the director might have cut back to yet another chaotic, meaningless, self-indulgent scene.
Nauseated because it was filmed entirely in hand-held shaky-cam, so that even scenes that were intended to be close, contemplative and meaningful were punctuated with a vomit-inducing twitch every half second or so. I can only hope that the director was traumatized by a camera dolly as a youth and subsequently developed a mortal fear of the things because the only obvious alternative would be that this was a conscious decision arising out of some cracked, sophomoric "artistic vision".
Disgusting for its unabashed idolatry of youth as navel-gazing, drug-addled narcissists with no room in their lives or thought in their heads for anything beyond themselves, no capacity for transcendence, and not even the neurons to anticipate its existence. And who decided to show young people unironically smoking cigarettes in 2015, as if it isn't a monstrously stupid and self-destructive activity? And then to show the film at a festival specifically aimed at high school students?
Boring because it was dripping with cliché characters whose lives are supposed to be meaningful simply because they yearn to create, despite the cavernous emptiness of their vision and their lives. I am always offended when a filmmaker thinks he can make me care about a character by resorting to trite "fashion designer Barbie" and "sensitive artist Ken" stereotypes. Sorry, you have to work harder than that to involve me in whatever the heck you were trying to say.
What little empathy I was able to feel for the characters, and what little involvement in the plot I was able to work up, was in any case jerked away from me by frequent smash-cuts to scenes of a supposedly older and wiser Lily being interviewed by a disembodied voice while she floated against an abstract white background. I expected either that it would turn out she had died during the main action, or had been admitted to a psychiatric facility, or that Morpheus would eventually explain to her that her dilettantish career in fashion and her party-hardy nights were simply a shallow manifestation of the fact that her brain had been sitting in a jar all along.
No such luck, unfortunately. That would have meant that something actually happened in the film, which was clearly not the plan.
Lily & Kat was probably meant to be a personal description of the challenges involved in trying to create meaningful art while having absolutely nothing to say. It might have worked as a cautionary tale about exactly that, had it the wit to achieve self-awareness, which it certainly did not.
Turns out that passing the Bechdel Test may be enough to attract good people and funding to a project but not enough to make a film watchable.
I hope that director Micael Preysler will go on to do something great. I feel sure that Jessica Rothe will. Hannah Murray already has. But this wasn't it.