Of course, she is not done any favors by how Michelle is written. The character, Michelle, is a moron at all times and never behaves like a rational human being at any point in the film. I understand why she thought taking this man, who she believes to be her husband, home for the night. Make sure he is okay, has food to eat, all that jazz. What is less clear exactly is her reasoning for not getting the authorities/ doctors involved. There is a throwaway line to a work colleague as to why she is wary of involving medical professionals, and it rings hollow. It defies logic, and it prevents the film from every feeling realistic. While an argument could be made that the film is about Michelle coming to terms with her selfish deeds, which harmed others, it does not hold much weight.
That is mainly because all the other main characters are as equally as terrible and never really have their ‘aha’ moment. Michelle invites Deborah to lunch, ostensibly to explain the Charlie situation. Deborah lays into her daughter-in-law over a variety of issues, including that she and Justin, Brendan’s best friend, hooked up a short while ago (which led to Michelle being pregnant but that holds no real significance to the plot). Michelle then states that Deborah does not want to give advice but instead demands that others do X in Y situation precisely her way. Not following it to the letter means Deborah feels undervalued and not heard.
“…a great story at its core. It also features very dramatic, effective directing…”
It does not help that a lot of the supporting cast is also quite bad. Deborah’s bitterness is understandable, but Sue Hardie fails to imbue her with the necessary softer side to really sell what the character says she wants. As Michelle’s friends, Jimena Crespo and Crystle de Aza are blank slates and share zero chemistry with the lead.
Thankfully, not all is bad in Bummed. For one, as Michelle’s new client Nancy, Tamiko Washington, is fantastic. She only has two scenes of any worth, but she owns them and makes her brief appearance one of the most heartfelt and engaging of the whole movie. As Brendan/ Charlie, Bergez is also quite amazing. He makes Charlie’s quirks and odd mannerisms realistic, while never becoming a cartoon. Given the weak script, this is a Herculean task, but Charlie is the most engaging and sympathetic person in the film (including Nancy).
Bergez is also a much more assured director than he is a writer. The film is dripping in melancholy and yet there is always an air of optimism surrounding the proceedings. Given how little the audience is invested in the characters, that Bergez manages this duality in any way, shape, or form is truly impressive. The editing is also fantastic, with a lot of parallel cuts between Michelle and Charlie, that really play up their connection. It is a beautiful movie to watch passively.
Bummed has a great story at its core. It also features very dramatic, effective directing and two emotionally cathartic and fantastic performances. Sadly, it is let down by terrible characterizations, with its lead making all the wrong decisions all the time, because she is an idiot. The dialogue is also on the nose, and certain plot threads are just filler.
"…...there is a good, possibly even great movie buried in there somewhere...this is not it…"