Bare is young, independent filmmaker, Natalia Leite’s, first feature film, featuring the Glee star Diana Agron as a confused youth in middle-of-nowhere America and Boardwalk Empire actress Paz de la Huerta, as her newfound drug dealer spirit guide.
Coming from this summary, you can’t expect too much from this movie and you shouldn’t.
Natalia Leite produced, directed and wrote Bare. Her credits include a few short movies that aren’t doing too well on IMDb and a webseries, called Be There Nowish, which has been praised for its exploration of female sexuality and its originality, but is still rated average. Leite looks like she has a career ahead of her. Bare has this feel of an amateur, debut movie but the scenery and the cinematography is still remarkable.
It all starts with a good idea. Bare follows the young Sarah (Diana Agron) in some dead-end little town in the U.S. where she has no future ahead of her other than being a cashier at a Walmart-like corporation, or maybe marrying her high school boyfriend who looks like an American dream/macho Prince Charming and having some kids to take care of.
The scenario gets shaky when there’s no actual explanation where her dad went or why Sarah is keeping his shop and holding on to all the kitschy random items he used to sell, but she goes there each day after work and stares at walls. Why? Who knows? It does serve the plot when she finds Pepper (Paz de la Huerta) asleep on her couch, hungover and in rags but that’s okay because she looks like fun so Sarah lets her stay and discuss life, just as accurately as a Cosmopolitan article.
Just as quickly as Sarah trusts Pepper, she decides her new career move is to become a stripper in the club in which Pepper deals drugs. She learns how to master the pole even faster and starts making a lot of money which seems to validate her life is going the right way; obviously not without some mystic, philosophical clichés being thrown here and there except for no reason and in every conversation. One of the most painful scenes to watch is where one of the strippers comes to educate her on the lifestyle in a sort of Morgan Freeman style of wisdom, with a deep voice and random analogies about the getting the perfect client, something that is never explored either.
The climax of the movie comes when Sarah and Pepper escape to the desert to get high on ‘shrooms and, again, debate life without ever making a point or even making sense. The only good bit might be Sarah’s sexual awakening when she and Pepper first start to make love with flash of the desert behind her, the metaphor of the snake of her chest as she is betraying her boyfriend but can’t help loving it. This one scene shows that the director has talent, but is still not grounded enough to produce a good movie.
Bare ends in a circle. After Sarah’s second life gets discovered, she goes back to her boyfriend, to her old boring job, to her bitchy friends and her desperate, clueless mum (why is she is that way is never explained which is a shame). Pepper leaves, with all of Sarah’s dirty money, and it just seems like nothing ever happened. The town is still empty and pointless, there is no hope and no one has learned anything. Not quite the happy ending, not even one that makes sense. It’s as if everyone forgot the past few weeks and goes on with their lives.
If you’re into indie cinema and are interested to follow young, new talent, Bare can be an entertaining piece to learn from but it isn’t the best watch you’ll have that week. It is bearable (get it?) but not a cinematic masterpiece. Would not recommend.
Would you watch it? Did you? If so leave a comment and let us know!