‘Kissing Candice’ Is A Beautifully Shot Female Coming-Of-Age Story [TIFF Review]

The Playlist | 9/13/2017 | Eli Fine
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There’s a moment early in “Kissing Candice” that recalls a fake trailer Andy Samberg made for his 2013 Independent Spirit Awards hosting gig, mocking the sort of movies that get nominated for Independent Spirit Awards. The trailer, “Bottlecap,” sells the inspirational story of Bottlecap, whose only desire is to stick her arm out of car windows and roll her hand in the wind. She’s stymied by her father, J.K. Simmons with a perm, who says things like “I hear you’ve been flip-flopping your hand around in the air like some kind of idiot” and “you’ll do what I say!” The trailer has copious shots, with varying degrees of focus-racking, of Bottlecap’s hand rolling sensitively in the wind.

One of the first scenes in “Kissing Candice” has Candice (Ann Skelly), a wayward Irish teen, sitting in the back of a car, alone, while her friends run into a convenience store. Candice notices a grasshopper perched on the car’s interior windowsill. She reaches out and lightly, sensitively, contemplatively brushes the insect with her fingers. Then, director Aoife McArdle cuts to outside of the window looking in, and very slowly racks focus from Candice to the grasshopper. It is the very essence of what Samberg was poking fun at in uber-sensitive artiste indie cinema. And it’s indicative of the film as a whole: genuinely compelling imagery paired with a nonsensically told narrative.

McArdle - Music - Video - Director - Trade

McArdle is a music video director by trade, and it shows in every frame of this, her first feature film. The filmmaker creates truly gorgeous, original visuals, with slow, deliberate camera movements and stark colors, but the problem is that McArdle is trying to tell a feature-length story using the kind of aesthetics that are better paired...
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