This month’s theme is Blog Free or Die Hard. Unexpectedly, our secondary theme for this month is the importance of donuts in friendship. Girl Asleep and Tangerine don’t have a lot in common…but they do share donuts.
Remember that movie shot entirely on iPhones? It’s also one of the first films to gain wide(ish) recognition for its representation of trans women of color.
After serving a short prison sentence, Sin-Dee is catching up with her bff Alexandra over a donut on Christmas Eve. Donut singular as Sin-Dee is broke as a joke after being unable to work for the past month. Both ladies are trans sex workers in LA, which is a niche but pretty in-demand corner of the market.
Alexandra accidentally lets it slip that Sin-Dee’s boyfriend, Chester, couldn’t even go the past month without cheating on her with a cis white girl. Enraged, Sin-Dee decides to track down the girl, Dinah, and make her regret the day she was born.
Meanwhile, Alexandra is promoting her event tonight, where she’ll sing at a dive bar. She invites Razmik, a cab driver and regular client. Razmik is Armenian with about 8 family members to support, including his wife and young child.
Alexandra agrees to help Sin-Dee find Dinah and Chester as long as they don’t stir up too much drama. Sin-Dee breaks this promise pretty quickly and heads off on her own to the food line, a motel, and a donut shop–pissing off virtually everyone she comes across.
When Sin-Dee does find Dinah, she drags her to the bar where Alexandra is performing in an effort to multi-task. Though Sin-Dee and Dinah begin understandably at odds, they do bond over make-up and meth.
Razmik tries to make it to the show but arrives too late. Hoping to see Alexandra, he tells his family he needs to keep working on Christmas Eve. Suspicious, his mother-in-law hires a cab driver to track Razmik down and uncover the truth.
In the mean time, Sin-Dee, Alexandra, and Dinah have finally managed to track down Chester. Razmik has also caught up with our crew, along with his mother-in-law, wife, and child. It’s all about to go down at Donut Time.
3.5/5 Pink Panther Heads
I tried really hard to like Sin-Dee, but she annoyed me quite a lot throughout the film. I liked Alexandra a lot better, and the dynamic between the two women made this worth watching–and Dinah makes a surprisingly fitting addition to the team. Sin-Dee was a bit of an impulsive drama queen, while Alexandra was off in the corner making snide remarks (which I relate to on a fundamental level).
Chester is a total sleaze, but does add some unexpected humor to the film, delivering lines like “You get my ass thrown out of donut time?!” with conviction. He’s not a likeable character but, like everyone in the film, feels multi-dimensional and real. I would’ve liked to see him suffer a bit more, honestly (evidence that I’ve become a full-blown sociopath?).
This is a beautifully shot film, and you forget completely that it’s known primarily as the movie shot entirely with iPhones. The characters are engaging and lively, and our two leads are absolutely the highlight.
Minor point of contention: I don’t remember the title being explained or anyone ever mentioning tangerines. I’m sure I’m being too literal here, but it drives me nuts that I don’t understand the title.