Reel Affirmations 2004
Review by Kristina Campbell
Rating: (4 out of 5)
Sunday, 10/17/2004, 1:00 PM
Feature presentation, $9 at Lincoln Theatre
“THIS IS A cautionary tale,” a character in Mango Kiss tells us at the beginning — and it’s true, viewers should proceed with caution. The following hour and a half is at turns whimsical and bizarre, with newly out Sassafras and seasoned lesbian Lou entering a non-monogamous, role-playing, S/M-tinged world and dealing with all sorts of twists and turns along the way.
Much of the film is outrageous, sometimes bordering on offensively bad, but who’s to judge? The women in this film seem to truly be having fun. The crux of the story is in the tension between Sass and Lou once they decide to try non-monogamy, scared off by ultra-traditional neighbors Leslie and Val, a butch/femme lesbian couple who hearken back to the days of 1950s television.
The neighbors are, as Lou puts it, “trapped in rigid roles I was desperately trying to avoid” — but as Leslie points out, “Try committing yourself to one person for the rest of your life. If that’s not extreme, I don’t know what is.”
Lou and Sass enter a sexual relationship predicated on the former taking on the persona of “Captain/Daddy Lou” to the latter’s “Princess Sassy.” Through Sassy’s sweet tooth and the metaphor of the new lesbian in the figurative candy store that is San Francisco, the most innovative scene in the movie — Lou’s lyrical riff on dozens of brands of candy — plays humorously as a backdrop to a beautiful, colorful montage of sugary delights. It’s sure to keep the snack bar hopping.
As Lou points out, “The one thing about not knowing your compass is broken — at least you don’t know you’re lost.” Ultimately, Mango Kiss seems a little lost, but it works because none of the characters know it’s lost. They’re too busy forging ahead with their wacky lives.