The Souvenir ★★

There’s gonna be a sequel to this?  Seriously?  “The Souvenir: More Bad Choices”?

Suffice it to say, from the beginning, I had a really hard time buying into the chemistry/attraction between the two purported lovers, which is an essential element to buying into the rest—no matter how stylized the filmmaking is.  And the thing about the jaggedly edited, elliptical storytelling at play here is that even when it is punctuated by flowery poetic narration and accentuated by melodramatic opera/cloying pop song, it doesn’t manage to avoid the potential problem with any two-hour addiction narrative: tedium.  

At one point about two-thirds of the way through this film conspicuously set in the early ‘80s, as our Ringwaldesque protagonist suddenly comes down with an illness, I began to actively imagine how this journey was going to take an interesting (if not entirely unpredictable) turn—perhaps, a tragic realization of the title.  But no.  I only mention this not because such a turn would have made the film better or worse, but rather as an indication of just how much I wanted to break out of the listless spell it had put me under.

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