Blind Spot 84: Tangerine

Tangerine 2015 Review | Vanity Fair

Part of my goal with this blind spot project is to push me out of my comfort zone. To watch acclaimed movies I haven’t seen for some reason. This includes movies with content I have otherwise avoided that I will broaden my horizons and give a chance. Such is the case with my December pick: 2015’s Tangerine.

Directed and co-written by Simon Baker, Tangerine, tells the story of transgender sex workers in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve. Obviously this is a mature topic and won’t be for everyone. I do appreciate the characters are treated with respect and nothing is sensationalized or tawdry.

When this first came out in 2015 it was revolutionary at Sundance because it was filmed entirely on an iphone. Now that has been done several times so it has lost some of its sticker appeal but however it was filmed I found the shot selection to be distracting. We are usually seeing Los Angeles from the characters POV so this limits are views at their faces/seeing their emotions. If we see them it is in a 2 shot or wider shots and I felt like this prevented me from really getting to know them and feeling a connection with them.

I also don’t really understand it being billed as a comedy. Some of the banter between the girls is amusing but for the most part I felt sad at the lonely lives of the women. I particularly felt bad for Alexandra who tries to get everyone to come out to her performance, which we find out she paid to do and barely anyone comes. That was just sad.

The ending of Tangerine is very chaotic with a crying baby and people fighting, which is the last thing I think of when I envision a comedy. I guess we can chop this one up to something that’s just not for me. However, I am glad I gave it a chance and tried something new.

What do you think of Tangerine? Is it a favorite of yours? What’s one of your favorite off-the-beaten-path Christmas movies?

6 out of 10

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