Leslie FILM REVIEW
"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." - Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) - John Lennon
In Alejandro Montoya Marin's LESLIE, a struggling artist who, despite her circumstances hangs on to her hopes and dreams, finds herself at a crossroads. Holly, played by Kika Magalhaes, is just barely getting by as she goes from one gig to the next, sometimes not even getting paid for days on end. She works at a grocery store to help make ends meet but ultimately she aspires to be a song writer and singer. The phrase "starving artist" is a pretty common label given to any artist, be it an actor, singer or the like, who makes very little for the amount of time and effort they put into their chosen medium. That label certainly applies to Holly and over the course of the film she finds herself in the unenviable position of deciding to follow her dreams or give it all up.
Kika Magalhaes, who recently starred in The Eyes of My Mother, gives an at once affecting and sympathetic portrayal of Holly. She gives a very natural performance that draws you in. In the opening scene we pretty much learn all we really need to know about her plight. We get the sense that she's been getting by but ultimately wants more. However, when life rears its ugly head Magalhaes really brings it as we see her struggle with the choices she must make. There are two scenes in particular that stand out but out of respect to the story I will not say which. Although I can say one of them could put a lump in your throat or perhaps bring tears to your eyes. The film also stars Daniel Pattison, Amy Baklini and Marty Lindsey who all provide solid supporting work.
Marin's homage to the struggling artist is an affecting piece of cinema that some circles may feel lays it on a bit thick but life is like that sometimes. While the circumstances one might face in life may not be the same as Marin's characters their struggles are very relatable, very real and quite interchangeable. Marin's LESLIE is the type of film to give an artist a kick in the pants to let them know that even in the darkest and bleakest of times there resides a glimmer of hope that could guide your way. The point is if you have the passion, never give up on your dreams. Hear endeth the lesson.
Director: Alejandro Montoya Marin
Screenplay: Alejandro Montoya Marin
Starring: Kika Magalhaes, Daniel Pattison, Amy Baklini, Marty Lindsey
Running Time: 21 minutes
***** = Outstanding ****1/2 = Excellent **** = Very Good ***1/2 = Above Average
*** = Good **1/2 = Mediocre ** = Fair *1/2 = Poor * = Bad 1/2* = Abysmal