Tangerine ★★★½

So glad I caught up with this innovative film, shot on an iPhone and built, unusually, around trans characters actually played by, and inspired by, trans actors. It's a fun "scene" movie, focusing on what it's like to be part of one particular cluster of competitive but like-minded friends and rivals in a seedy part of Hollywood, among prostitutes, pimps, and the late-night crowd. I just wish I'd been more engaged with the actual action, which centers on an awful lot of screaming — between people who are meant to be friends but can't listen to each other, between people staking out their ownership of each other, between people attacking each other verbally in order to hold off attacking each other physically. Given all the high-pitched confrontation, this film should have been a lot tenser, but I found all the drama fairly laughable and histrionic. What's really touching is Alexandra, the one character who's trying to actually accomplish something important to her, and can't catch a break from her friends or the movie because everyone else is operating in such a shrill, need-driven world that they have little time for each other. Ultimately what makes this movie for me isn't the hysteria or the fights, it's everything that flows under them: The deep sense of unhappiness, the need to belong and be recognized and cared for. The final moment of the film is just heartbreaking and wonderful.