In Landing Up, viewers get a glimpse at the lengths two young homeless women will go to in search of shelter. Chrissie (Stacey Maltin) and Cece (E’dena Hines) pull con jobs (and other kinds of “jobs”) on unassuming guys sitting alone at the bar, itching for some female companionship. Sexual favors serve as their currency. In exchange for a one-night stand, the girls get to stay off the street. Even if it is for just one sporadic night at a time. When they aren’t picked up by a stranger, they try to grab a spot at the shelter. If the shelter is full, they’re standards lower to even grittier acts of desperation.
What keeps Chrissie and Cece going is the hope that they will one day be able to afford an apartment of their own. All the drugs (selling and using,) seedy sex with strangers, strong-armed manipulation and cruel blackmail for a day’s work is all for that one goal. Cece was raised in shelters, so she assures newcomer Chrissie that this turmoil will all be worth it in the end. But at what expense?
“…get a glimpse at the lengths two young homeless women will go to in search of shelter.”
When Chrissie stumbles into a genuine relationship with David (Ben Rappaport), she still finds herself playing a con. She spends days on end at his apartment and struggles to keep her secret from him. Chrissie always seems to be living on the brink of survival. Especially when his roommate, Avi (Jay DeYonker), becomes suspicious of her behavior.
Will she be able to keep up this charade and hold onto the man she loves? How much is she willing to do to move up in the world? Will she even be able to realize if she has gone too far to achieve her dream?
“…always seems to be living on the brink of survival.”
Maltin delivers a solid and fearless performance. Her script doesn’t sugarcoat the dangers they face. At times, viewers may feel uncomfortable with the choices these wayward women make. But that’s probably the point.
The film tends to lag with a revolving door of hook-ups and excessive sex montages. The same conversations are tiresomely repeated throughout the narrative. However, the most bothersome part of the film is the ending. The screen fades to black just when things could start to get interesting. Instead, bored viewers are denied closure and leave feeling unsatisfied.
Landing Up (2018) Written by Stacey Maltin. Directed by Daniel Tenenbaum. Starring Ben Rappaport, Stacey Maltin, Dov Tiefenbach, and E’dena Hines.
2 out of 5 stars