Make Up Image

Make Up

By Alan Ng | March 23, 2020

During Tom’s absence, Ruth meets Jade (Stefanie Martini), one of her co-workers. Jade is a free spirit. She introduces Ruth to marijuana, and the two quickly become friends, despite Tom’s warning to stay away from her. When we’re told not to do something, human nature makes us do it anyways.

Make Up run at a slow pace, but don’t let that stop you. Director Oakley makes ample use of this slow-burn alongside the beach-side surroundings. She uses the wide-open space of the ocean, the sound of the crashing waves, and the isolation of the small group of workers to lull you, along with Ruth, into a trance.

“…was expecting a different and less interesting story to unfold, and then the swerve…”

I particularly loved the design of the story. It starts with the typical girl arriving at her boyfriend’s job. He’s acting odd at her arrival. Now she has to figure out what he’s doing. Sure, we’ve seen that before in other romance dramas. But then it all turns into this fascinating coming-of-age story for Ruth—out of the blue. Make Up becomes a bigger story about self-discovery as told through the lens of a psychological thriller—what’s real, what’s a dream?

What I love about the second half of the movie is that I never saw it coming. I was expecting a different and less interesting story to unfold, and then the swerve is just makes it better. You may see it coming, but I enjoy storyteller who do something different and unexpected, and that’s true of Make Up. It’s worth it.

Make Up was scheduled to screen at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival.

Make Up (2020)

Directed and Written by Claire Oakley

Starring Molly Windsor, Joseph Quinn, Stefanie Martini, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Make Up Image

"…subversively turns a coming-of-age story into a subtle, psychological thriller."

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