Festival Fare with Alessandro: Sitting On The Edge Of Marlene
Director: Ana Valine
Featuring: Suzanne Clément, Paloma Kwaitkowski, Callum Keith Rennie
Production Company: Foundation Features
Duration: 90 mins
Reviewed By Alessandro Hutt
I completely regret ever seeing Sitting On The Edge of Marlene. Unbelievable and moronic, this coming of age clunker is beyond aggravating. 16-year-old Sammie (Kwiatkowski) must deal with her childish mother Marlene’s (Clément) drug addictions and small con artist schemes. As Marlene gets worse, Sammie becomes more and more willful. Also included – a dumb subplot about a religious cult.
This film is absolutely asinine. Marlene is so beyond caricature that it’s laughable. You’ll roll your eyes every time she’s on screen. Every single plot development she initiates will make you throw up your arms and cry “goddamn really?” It’s not Clément’s fault – I know from Xavier Dolan’s films that she is a magnificent actress. It’s likely the fault of the source material, a novella by author Billie Livingston named The Trouble With Marlene. The rest of the cast is unnoticeable. Callum Keith Rennie is unfortunately underused as he always is, in the role of con artist Fast Freddy. (Are you serious with that name?)
The plot is disgustingly bad. As soon as the religious subplot popped up it stunk of twee indie eccentricity. But I shouldn’t be surprised when the film has a Christian bully character named Mandy Morris. Gee this film sure is subtle! I wonder if the writer saw the film Saved!? Other tired tropes included are a mother that is a sexual addict, and the daughter getting assaulted by a creepy old man.
To make things worse, the final scene is one giant middle finger towards the audience. I get that the film is trying to be edgy and different with it’s ending but instead it’s unbelievably ill fitting. I can’t recommend Sitting On The Edge of Marlene at all. In fact it’s in the running for worst film of the year for me. It’s a shame because I enjoy some of the actors. Avoid this one completely.