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YEAST, 2008
Movie Reviews!

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YEAST MOVIEYEAST, 2008
Movie Reviews

Directed by: Mary Bronstein

Cast: Mary Bronstein, Greta Gerwig, Ignacio Carballo, Amy Judd, Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie, Sean Price Williams, David Sandholm


Review by Jarred Thomas


SYNOPSIS:

A maddeningly oblivious, tyrannical and emotionally stunted young woman tries her best to negotiate two toxic friendships.

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REVIEW:

There are some people who simply donít get it. They think everyone else has a problem or are the cause of problems when in fact itís them. Thatís the case with Yeast, an odd name that after watching appropriately fits the film. Mary Bronstein wrote, directed and starred in Yeast, a challenging portrait of a socially inept young woman who, perhaps without notice, sabotages all of the close relationships around her.

The film starts with Rachel (Mary Bronstein) aggressively waking up her roommate Alice (Ignacio Carballo), who nothing more than to sleep in. But Rachel has plans with her to go camping, and no matter how much Alice argues against going, Rachel will not hear no as an answer. Every scene in Yeast is improvised which does provide a more natural and realistic feel, but itís also difficult to watch. Then again, that might be the point.

The cinematography is effective as well although at times it feels a little too close for comfort. Bronstein makes every moment intense, even if the scene calls for the characters to simply sit around doing nothing, the shots are designed to evoke an intense natural feel and look. It works, for better or worse.

The real breakout star here is Greta Gerwig who is a joy to watch. She plays the antithesis to Mary Bronsteinís character who is far more uptight, rigid, and really no fun. Gen (Gerwig) is carefree, taking life as it comes to her, open, and desperately trying to maintain whatever connection she has with Rachel, who just seems closed off. How these two are friends escapes me.

While heading out on a camping trip, Gen tries to start a conversation with Rachel. Itís simply conversation about what Rachel has been up to, but Rachel doesnít comply. In fact, she argues against even talking about each other since, she contends, thereís nothing to talk about. Their difficult relationship reaches a boiling point after one too many comments from Rachel that causes Gen to lash, physically, in a funny and awkward attack. Whatís great about that moment was how unapologetic Gen is after. The look on her face seems to say, ďYou had it coming.Ē

But thatís the nature of Rachelís friendships. Even Alice assaults her when Rachel berates her for cleaning the dishes. It becomes so unbearable for not only the characters having to put up with her cankerous attitude, that it even becomes a task for the audience. Bronstein does a solid job at capturing every moment perfectly in a natural way, but it feels so real that you donít really want to watch.

If this were happening outside in the real world and you happen to witness to it, at some point youíre going to walk away. Itís just too frustrating watch, listen to, and try to comprehend in the end. Itís really not worth it. Yeast is not a bad film, but it falters after the camping scene and Greta Gerwig disappears towards the end, and her character was the only likeable one among the bunch boisterous women. Not a bad idea, it has its moments, but Yeast is just too challenging, frustrating, and annoying to watch.

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