Movie Review - Portrait of a Serial Monogamist

Diane Flacks stars as Elsie, a lesbian in Toronto who rides her bicycle to her job. She works at a TV production company. She specifically produces a show about music and culture. She narrates the film, often talking directly to camera and breaking the fourth wall. She opens with her philosophy or general modus operandi. She's made an art out of breaking up with people. Written and directed by John Mitchell and Christina Zeidler, the movie in fact begins with a kind of montage depicting how Elsie breaks up with people and a lot of them, mainly women.

From what we gather, she either gets bored easily or she's just easily distracted with other people, but she's not into casual flings. She has to date them and she has to do so exclusively. The idea of dating multiple people at once or exploring open relationships is something that seems to be her anathema, or against her DNA. All of this changes when Elsie breaks up her current girlfriend whom she's been dating for a while, presumably longer than most.

Carolyn Tanner co-stars as Robyn, the girlfriend in question who gets dumped by Elsie. The problem script-wise is that Elsie never really gives a reason why she's breaking up with Robyn. Later, she enumerates all the ways she loves Robyn and how Robyn is such a great person. Yet, we never get the causation of the break-up. It seems only to happen as a way of fostering this movie's premise.

The premise is an intriguing one. A woman who can't stay single and who specifically has the affliction of jumping from relationship to relationship is compelling. Elsie is put forward as this highly-intelligent person with all this self-awareness. After everything we see occur in her relationship with Robyn, it comes across as callous or contrived the way Elsie just drops Robyn.

There is another girl that comes into the mix, a barista named Lolli, played by Vanessa Dunn. Yet, it's never clear if Elsie is dumping Robyn for Lolli or if it's just by random chance that Lolli is next on Elsie's dating list.

The movie does employ some fairly good comedy. There are some funny bits sprinkled throughout. Calls from Elsie's mom, cruising at a dog park and even a cat funeral were well-conceived jokes. It's a fairly nice, romantic comedy. It's also nice to see a lesbian story where being a lesbian isn't an issue. It's not as good as the recent Appropriate Behavior (2015), but it's a decent movie.

Three Stars out of Five.
Not Rated but for 14 and Up.
Running Time: 1 hr. and 25 mins.
Limited theatrical run in LA on Jan. 29.
Available now on DVD/VOD, including Netflix Watch Instant.

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