Please Baby Please

Please Baby Please ★★★★

The film opens on a gang of leather-clad street toughs posing and swaying to discordant jazz. The overt West Side Story reference invites the viewer into the glossy, pastiche-fueled world of Please Baby Please, a title like a 1950’s pop-ballad refrain, saturated in neon, studded with vintage cars, bobby socks, and ascots, and dripping in beatnik slang and poetry. The film’s flamboyant, quasi-musical aesthetic is a firehose of desire, and director Amanda Kramer drowns the screen with style and sensuality. The cast is game for all the carnivalesque cheekiness she can conjure. Andrea Riseborough clocks about a thousand different tones and expressions per scene, ambling between cat-like slink and wise-guy brawn, and Harry Melling continues to impress with his eclectic career choices since appearing as Dudley Dursely in the Harry Potter series. The two play a couple, Suze and Arthur, who witness a murder by the balletic hoodlums, and it sends their marriage and gender identities into freefall. The film dances and swoons around the central question of “What is a man?”—a ripe interrogation for the retro mid-century setting, during which antiquated notions of gender conformity abounded. Nothing here is musty or stale, though. Kramer’s vision is fresh, electric, and thrillingly modern.

Block or Report

Travis liked this review