Amy Thiel, Joy Yandell, Adam Knox, Jennifer Steele
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Ariztical Entertainment (DVD)
Sometimes film, like love, defies logic. It defies critical thought...it defies all that is reasonable, explainable and instead becomes something that invades our hearts and our souls with such purity and passion that it simply cannot be denied. For me, "Maggie and Annie" is such a film.
"Maggie and Annie" will not please every viewer. On the surface, my great love of this film could not possibly be explained. This 2004 production by Kimberly Wilson and Rainbow Chaser Productions was filmed on an $80,000 budget. Yes, that's right...an $80,000 budget. To be honest, it shows. The film is nearly devoid of anything resembling special effects...it's camera work is simple, but far from spectacular. Even the sound quality is clear & concise, but obviously low budget.
"Maggie and Annie" works on a deep level because writer/director/producer Kimberly Wilson had the courage to write a script that didn't always make sense and was almost destined to anger the very community it was trying to reach, the gay/lesbian community.
The film centers around Annie...Annie has it all in life, a loving husband and a beautiful little girl. Having recently moved to a new town, her entire life changes when she shows up at a softball practice with an interest in playing. She meets Maggie, an openly gay, cute and athletic young woman. Despite an obvious attraction, Maggie pledges to not make a move due to Annie's wonderful family. A night of drinking and celebrating at an out-of-town tournament changes everything.
I respect this film because Wilson, as the writer, made challenging choices that ring of tremendous authenticity. She broke cliche's, broke stereotypes and instead focused on the humanity of these relationships. None of these people were really shown in a negative light...they were shown as human beings trying to make human choices based on human feelings.
The gay/lesbian community offered great resistance to this film due to a very unexpected ending that wasn't "happy" enough of an ending...After all, gay/lesbian films are supposed to end up happy for the gays/lesbians involved. This film took a unique approach that was, at once, a surprise and yet oddly satisfying as a sort of conflict resolution.
When Maggie and Annie finally get together, the scenes of intimacy are among the most honest, tender scenes I have witnessed on screen. I forgot that I was watching two lesbians...I was watching two women who so completely loved each other. Quite simply, it was beautiful.
The cast, made up of relative newcomers and indie film folks...all performed well...often making me forget the low-budget nature of this film. Amy Thiel brings an innocence...a conviction to Annie...from her scenes with Maggie to the scenes with her family and her daughter. As Maggie, Joy Yandell sparkles with a sincerity, conviction and the honesty of a young woman who has finally found her true love but has no idea what to do with it. Adam Knox does a nice job as Annie's husband, and Jennifer Steele is adorable as her little girl.
Throughout this film, I also noticed an incredibly appropriate and entertaining soundtrack of mostly small label and independent musicians.
I confess that I'm a fan of independent films...I admire those who give their heart and souls to their work...often without much financial reward or recognition. Yet, seldom have I been moved as much as I have been by this film. I laughed and I cried throughout this film. I offer this film an A-...to be honest, not so much because it is a "perfect" film...but, because it is true filmmaking...it is a shining example that the independent filmmaker can make a true work of art that entertains, inspires and changes the viewer.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic