DVD Review - The Dish and the Spoon

I interviewed Alison Bagnall last year because her movie The Dish and the Spoon played at the Rehoboth Beach Independent Film Festival. The movie was released on DVD this spring. It's the only movie in years to be entirely shot in Delaware, making use of signature locations in and around the coastal community of Rehoboth Beach itself. People from the area will appreciate the scenery, specifically Finbar's Pub and Dogfish Head Craft Brewery. Delaware celebrity or "Delebrity" Sam Calagione even makes a cameo.

For others, the appeal will come from the two characters who meet on the Delaware coast and end up spending a few days together. Greta Gerwig plays Rose, a young woman who drives to Rehoboth Beach to confront her boyfriend's mistress. Olly Alexander co-stars as an unnamed British boy who comes to the United States for a girl and then gets abandoned.

Rose is heartbroken. She's bitter. She might be a little crazy. She can easily become aggressive, both verbally and physically. She dances and she cross-dresses, at least on one occasion. Yet, she's strong and dominant. The British boy isn't weak, but he's more sensitive. He's odd and artistic. He draws in the sand. He plays the piano. Clearly, he's a hopeless romantic who falls in love too easily. The two pair up and in a lot of ways they complement or balance each other.

Bagnall makes great use of the Delaware location. Rehoboth Beach is a big tourist destination during the summer. It's bright, colorful and crowded beyond belief. Bagnall filmed her movie in the winter, around December. The off season is desolate and very quiet, almost creepy. Somehow, Bagnall makes it haunting and magical.

Bagnall encapsulates both those feelings in a scene where Rose and the British boy kiss in a cemetery. Actually, Gerwig's character was haunting and Alexander's character was magical. There seems to be an age gap between the two, but it never seemed like much of one because their relationship never really felt that awkward.

The movie fits in with so many independent films that feature two young people who roam in a plot that's less than a plot and that incorporates improvised writing or acting that's either about the budding romance between the main characters or the quarter-life crisis of one. Bagnall has worked with and slightly takes her queue from Joe Swanberg. This one stands above because Gerwig's performance is really outstanding.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated R for language.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 30 mins.


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