Mango Kiss

Lou (Michelle Wolff) and her best friend, with whom she’s in love, Sassafrass (Daniele Ferraro), move to San Francisco after university in order to pursue their performance art. Sassy has recently come out and is a bit promiscuous (we are told this, but don’t see it).

Their next door neighbours are a cliche of a couple, Leslie (Dru Mouser) and Val (Max Miller) and it’s only now that I’m looking at the IMDB page that I realise Val was actually played by a man. I knew he was supposed to be a guy, but the film is so weird I thought perhaps they’d got an androgynous ciswoman to play the role.

Anyway, Leslie and Val have been together since high school, I suppose, and she wears curlers and vacuums like she’s Donna Reed. This is shorthand for them being ‘traditional’. She also has a ridiculous Southern accent because Southern women are more complacent?

Eventually Lou tells Sassy she wants to be a couple and Sassy says she wants to be a princess and they get into a Daddy/princess deal, which morphs into a Sea Captain thing…somehow.

Then they get into the local BDSM scene and non-monogamy and blah blah blah. Who cares. The writing is terrible. Which was a shame because they explored some things that aren’t generally shown in media like kink families. Lou becomes someone’s puppy and Sassy becomes someone else’s Mommy.

Oh, and, for some reason, somehow, Sally Kirkland is in this thing. As Sassy’s mother. What. She’s supportive of her daughter, but confused by her, as well.

I knew I was in for a bad time when it started with a voice-over full of trite observations about life and love. Always an indicator of Painful Lesbian Films(tm).

The vanilla sex scenes were even boring. Not because they were vanilla, which can still be hot, but because there was no chemistry. Give me something, people.

While it was nice to see all the kink, the overall message for the main couple was BDSM wasn’t their thing, nor was polyamory. Other characters got to end up in kinky and complex relationships–though those also seemed to be fraught, as well, so it wasn’t all sunshine and roses, there, either.

Apparently, this is based on a play, which was based on someone’s real life experiences. This is probably where everything went wrong. They say to ‘write what you know’ but reality makes just dreadful fiction.

Mango kiss reminds me of lesbian films from the 90s when we were happy to have any representation of ourselves in the media. And in that way, the kink was nice to see. Since it wasn’t forced submission and everyone was, mostly, enjoying themselves. But this was released in 2004–we have choices now–we no longer have to torture ourselves to see two ladies kissing. And thank god for that.

If the writing and acting was better…and…everything else too, it would have been nice to see kink represented in a more complex light for once, but it was just…bad painful. Red. Spare yourself.

2/5

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