Claire Oakley’s Make Up tells the story of a young woman named Ruth (Molly Windsor) who goes to a trailer park in Cornwall to be with her boyfriend, where she learns that he may be cheating on her. As she attempts to come to terms with this realization, she begins to come to terms with the fact that she may be gay, as she finds herself obsessed with another woman. This is a story that has been frequently told before, but Oakley’s vision is exceedingly dull. This is quite disappointing because Molly Windsor seems like she could be on her way to being an actor to watch for.
While meandering anti-narrative films are not for everybody, they can be good. Many well-known filmmakers have made entire careers off of films that don’t feel the need to tell a story and instead focus on creating visual marvels. Make Up appears to be trying to tell a story, but the viewer will likely find themselves realizing in the middle of the second act that nothing of notability has happened. Or rather, they have, but they have been relayed in such excruciatingly uninspiring ways that the audience would be forgiven for not noticing.
Furthermore, those other films at least give the audience something to look at. Cornwall is not exactly well known as a beautiful location. So, a dreary place is filmed in a dreary way and the audience is expected to react to it. There is one moment deep in the third act that is actually pretty awe-inspiring. It is so beautifully lit and shot that the audience would be forgiven for asking where this person was in the numerous shots in the ocean or wandering around the trailer park.
Make Up showed some promise at the very beginning, but it was dashed by the lackluster direction. It just goes to show that you cannot make up for a lack of vision.
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