Certainly, we need more films about women from women's perspective, and more films about lesbian love/sex/relationships told from that perspective as well. Unfortunately, such efforts do not always make for great films. Such is the case with Below Her Mouth. While a valiant attempt to tell a sweet and sexy story of two women who fall in loust and love in a short time, weak acting and a weaker script make for a (mostly) uninteresting film.
Dallas (Erika Linder), a roofer, moves in and out of relationships the way many move in and out of clothing. Having just broken up with her latest girlfriend, one day she spies Jasmine (Natalie Krill) and is instantly entranced. A chance meeting later that night turns to kissing. Being engaged to a man, Jasmine is at first hesitant, but her attraction to Dallas is too strong, and the two embark on a weekend of sex and intimacy.
Romantic/sexual comedies/dramas abound in film (mostly about straight couples), so it is good to see films that show a similar story from a gay perspective; and even in western, presumed accepting societies, it can still be difficult to be openly gay. And at least Below Her Mouth is written and shot from a women's persepctive, with a woman viewer in mind. Much of the film shows Dallas' and Jasmine's sexual exploits and interest, and rather than a male POV, director April Mullen shoots these scenes to show how a woman/lesbian might view or be turned on by such intimacies. And it is quite explicit, harkening to Blue is the Warmest Color, so not for those who would prefer such stories stick to emotions.
Unfortunately, these sexual escapades are not supported by chemistry between the two characters, nor in the characters themselves. Linder, in her first acting role, tries to embody the semi-butch character with the urgency of unexpected love and obsession, but her character has little personality beyond her ability to seduce. Likewise, Krill's Jasmine has seemingly few redeeming characteristics beyond her beauty. So their sexual compatiabiltiy might be a given, but the complete lack of chemistry or personality makes any belief in their falling in love almost impossible.
In addition, sadly, the dialogue is riddled with cliches which, again, leave out the possibility of any emotional core; any emotional core that might have developed, never does due to lack of character backstory. Contrary to popular belief, it can still be difficult to come out even in a city as open as Toronto; but even so, Jasmine's tale of keeping her sexual preferences a secret rings hollow.
Despite its decided female gaze on lesbian sex, the weakness in the dialogue and acting ultimately hamper Below Her Mouth from being the good indie lesbian romance it could be.
Below Her Mouth opens in limited release in the United States on Friday, April 28th.