USA, 2011, 92 min
Emotionally unhinged after leaving her cheating husband, Rose runs off to drink away her sorrow in an abandoned lighthouse, where she stumbles on a similarly jilted and listless English boy. The two wounded souls fall in with each other, taking shelter in a deserted beach house. There they revert to childlike states in an effort to escape their adult anguish. The two shirk responsibilities in favor of binge-drinking, aimless wandering and playacting while conspiring to find and take revenge upon the woman who slept with Rose’s husband. In the process, they play a game in which they act out the roles of a happy couple. But the game may mean different things to Rose and her new friend. Under the moody gray skies of off-season coastal Delaware, indie star Greta Gerwig (Greenberg, 2010) delivers a fearlessly unrestrained performance, with an endearing vulnerability that matches her paroxysms of grief. In contrast, newcomer Olly Alexander—looking like a Don’t Look Back–era Bob Dylan—bears his character’s suffering more quietly, hinting at his torment through ironic distance. Together, the unlikely pair creates a stirring portrayal of young adults still learning to cope with the heartbreak that stems from being betrayed by the ones you love the most. Alison Bagnall, who most recently acted in two films by Joe Swanberg, employs a similarly low-key directing style while taking an emotionally direct approach that’s all her own. The Dish & the Spoon is a quirky and potent story of the unavoidable perils of emotional dependency.
Presented in association with Bay Area Video Coalition.