|QFest Film Review: Cloudburst|
posted by Valerie Temple on Jul 14, 2012 11:00am | comments
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Valerie Temple is the Programming Manager of Bryn Mawr Film Institute,
as well as a filmmaker, video producer and writer whose work has
appeared on such sites as The Awl. This is her first Qfest and she is
super excited about it. You can follow her on Twitter or stalk her on Facebook.
Confession: I love Olympia Dukakis. She's great in everything, truly. After winning the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Moonstruck, the silver-haired spitfire became a go-to choice for character work in comedic films during much of the 80s and 90s. From her classic turn as Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias, to small but memorable roles in movies like Working Girl and Look Who's Talking, Dukakis displayed her sassy wit and razor sharp timing, much to the delight of audiences. Although keeping a much lower profile than in previous decades, Dukakis proves still got it with her hysterical, tour-de-force performance in Cloudburst.
As a fan, I was delighted to see Dukakis sink her teeth into the role of Stella, a curmudgeonly bull dyke who loves her booze as much as she loves her sweetheart of over 30 years, Dot (Irish actress Brenda Fricker). She's foulmouthed and gruff, like a lesbian Clint Eastwood, and, like an old-fashioned Western hero, she flies into action when Dot's meddling (and naive, she thinks the two ladies are "just good friends") granddaughter conspires to take over the couple's Maine residence and send her grandmother to a nursing home. By the uproarious scene where Stella, who regularly dresses in flannels and jeans, dons a housecoat and kerchief in order to sneak into a retirement facility to break out her lady love, Olympia Dukakis is sure to gain a legion of new fans impressed by her prodigious comedic talents. I know I couldn't stop laughing!
Following the daring rescue mission, the two fiesty ladies embark on a Thelma and Louise-style road trip to get to Canada and get legally married. Along the way they pick up a goodhearted (and hunky!) hitchhiker who quickly bonds with the lovable couple and helps them to get across the border, all the while enduring Stella's wickedly blue humor. (My favorite line: "If I was on death row, I'd request that my last meal be served right between K.D. Lang's legs.") Despite the many obstacles along the way, the couple's dedication to each other never wavers, which perfectly illustrates the poignant absurdity of the situation. It should not be a question that people who love each other this much should be able to get married.
With its combination of profane humor and sweet emotion, Cloudburst is poised to be one of the biggest hits of the festival this year.