Tell That to the Winter Sea : Movie Review

Posted by Eddie Pasa on May 31, 2024 in / No Comments

 

Not Rated by the MPA (contains language – equivalent to a very light R). Running time: 92 minutes. Released by Kaleidoscope Entertainment.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Kaleidoscope Entertainment, Tell That to the Winter SeaFirst loves. The thrill of being attracted to someone who is, in turn, attracted to you. The electricity of touch. Getting lost in long looks. The magic of the world looking different when you’re with each other. The strength you get when you feel their presence. The pinpricking of loss when they’re not around. The smarting sense of betrayal when you have to hide this world from others. And the heavy sense of grief when it goes away.

All of this and more are explored in Tell That to the Winter Sea, a film that relies upon emotions and subtext without having to resort to the titillating and overt. Centrally, the film is about love, not lust, and director Jaclyn Bethany (credited alongside co-lead Greta Bellamacina with the script) takes this opportunity to celebrate the long friendship and love between two women joined at the heart. The conflict lies in the fact that one of them – Jo (Bellamacina) – is getting married, and the other – Scarlet (Amber Anderson) – has been invited to a pre-wedding party at Jo’s house. It’s not much of a conflict, but it is a question rather than a gripe that Scarlet has, and it’s handled without having to be accusatory or judgmental.

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Kaleidoscope Entertainment, Tell That to the Winter SeaBethany alternates present-day conversations and actions with mirroring flashbacks that define the beginning of Jo and Scarlet’s friendship and its development through the years. Meeting as students at a dance school, their own dance – both literal and figurative – becomes a metaphor for the intertwining of their bodies and souls. Great care is shown in capturing the awkward moments leading to understanding and, eventually, to love. As we see, the present day is likewise awkward, in that they haven’t seen each other in a while; but after initial misgivings and with Scarlet having to reconcile herself with the fact that Jo’s marrying a man, we start to see a reblossoming of their pairing, but not leading to the sexual or romantic.

Instead, we dive into the complex, ever-evolving humanity of the joy and pain of friendship, and the need for people who understand us. There’s no need for shouting or screaming here; Bellamacina and Bethany’s script pushes us gently toward acceptance without some trumped-up want for forgiveness. No one’s in the wrong here; it’s just a joining of the past with the present through memories, conversations, games, and naked expressions of the heart’s longings. It’s a beautiful emotional reckoning and evaluation that Jo and Scarlet have together over the few days they have alone before the rest of the party arrives. Even when others come, there are more depths to be plumbed, more facets of life to be explored, and Bethany does it with a caring eye, forming a groundswell of support and love among these women. One might call it “hippie-ish”; another might call it “girl power”; some might call it “a utopian fantasy.”

DC Movie Critics, DC Movie Reviews, DC Film Critics, Eddie Pasa, Movie Critics, Film Critics, Movie Review, Film Review, Kaleidoscope Entertainment, Tell That to the Winter SeaBut what Jaclyn Bethany wants to show us is that love comes from everywhere; we can either fight it or accept it, and Tell That to the Winter Sea is a refreshing wave of the latter. Irene Gomez-Emilsson’s handheld, loose cinematography lends an immediacy to the film which amplifies a feeling of hope and discovery. It also cements the awkwardness of two former lovers meeting for the first time in a long time, mirroring the awkwardness of their initial relationship. But Bethany wants to put us right in the thick of things, and Gomez-Emilsson’s energetic, vibrant frames help seat us with Scarlet and Jo on their path to discovering each other again and realizing that love does last. Even through the many changes it might take on, love can be forever; it’s in fully accepting a person for who they are – along with where life has taken them and how it’s changed them – that makes it possible.

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Eddie Pasa

Eddie is a member of the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA) and the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS). Since starting in 2010 at The Rogers Revue, Eddie has written for Reel Film News (now defunct), co-founded DC Filmdom, and writes occasionally for Gunaxin. When not reviewing movies, he's spending time with his wife and children, repeat-viewing favorites on 4k or Blu-Ray, working for rebranding agency Mekanic, or playing acoustic shows and DJing across the DC/MD/VA area. Special thanks go to Jenn Carlson, Moira and Ari Pasa, Viki Nova at City Dock Digital in Annapolis, Mike Parsons, Philip Van Der Vossen, and Dean Rogers.

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