LFF 2019: Make Up – Review

Release date – 31st July 2020, Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 26 minutes, Director – Claire Oakley

A young girl (Molly Windsor) goes to a holiday camp to live with her boyfriend (Joseph Quinn) for the summer, however she begins to suspect that he is cheating on her with another member of staff.

A coastal town in Cornwall, spending the summer with your boyfriend at the caravan site he works at. For teenager Ruth (Molly Windsor) this seems to be nearly the perfect getaway from the restriction of her parents – who themselves disapprove of her going away. Even her having to work on the site doesn’t put a dampener on her spirits. However, the thing that does is her suspicions that her boyfriend, Tom (Joseph Quinn) is having an affair with another member of staff. Ruth becomes intent on finding out who this mysterious red haired girl is, however whether she exists or not is a completely different matter.

As Ruth makes her way through the dark nighttime maze of caravans she begins to occasionally see the figure of this mysterious person. Like a villain from a horror film she seems to just appear and disappear, only to be seen by Ruth, with no real explanation as to how this is possible. This being just one of the elements that hints at Make Up being a horror. Albeit one with no real scares or tension. It’s this lack of any real horror response that creates the feeling of this simply being a dark drama. Unfortunately this potentially accidental mixture of genre creates an unbalance cocktail of tone that never quite sits right. The film almost feels confused as to what it actually wants to be.

When combined with a plot that sends mixed messages with not much detail. Creating an overall confusing plot and set of ideas, pushed further by various flashbacks with twisted details each time, or new hints that push in different themes. Not in the style of a mystery, but a plot with almost too many ideas to deal with, all to build up to a relatively simple ending and reveal; that still leaves many questions unanswered and therefore resulting in a rather unsatisfied taste at the end of the film. Ruth’s investigation almost always seems to lead to a dead end. With everyone else denying her, or her mind simply playing tricks on her. It seems that she, the viewer and the film never quite know what’s real and what’s not – creating an overall sense of confusion and imbalance.

While Make Up initially has some promise it soon becomes confused when it comes to its overall tone and the various different messages that it seems to try to send.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

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