“Unmade Beds” is a story of youth. A highly idealistic and romantic notion of youth that may only be in the heads of the hundreds of screenwriters that have written this script, but a story of youth none-the-less. And while elements of the film may be a little cliché, I found it highly relatable. It would be dishonest to say I didn’t enjoy myself.
Axl and Vera are lonely early-twenties looking for love in all the right places: a magical London squat. Axl is trying to form a relationship with his dad who left him as a baby. He does this indirectly instead of revealing his true identity, following his dad around supermarkets and rich-bitch Kensington streets. Vera acts out her own version of indirectness as she plays with fate by falling in love and never giving her name. Though they live in the same flat, Vera and Axl almost miss their opportunity to meet, lost in their own existential crises.
The comforting thump of a bass guitar in a tiny, underground club plays a huge part in this story, as all characters spend much of their time wandering slowly through dark crowds of people. Lights flashing, drinks tipping, these scenes have nothing we haven’t seen before, but remain beautiful, leaving room for contemplation.
What really bothered me in this film was the romanticization of homelessness. Coming from an alternative background, I am familiar with the mix tapes and zines out there that make a case for “living off the grid,” but does owning an iPod, a monthly bus pass (in London a huge expense) and playing DDR to relieve stress really qualify you for that ideal? The squat itself is the perfect example of my point. Interesting art and graffiti line the walls, but tenants seem to clean up after themselves and authorities never bother them. A youthful indie-listening kid’s dream, but probably far from any truth someone actually struggling to pay rent knows.
That said, the film is a nice break from those Hollywood teenage romances we’ve been seeing a lot of lately. The performances are solid, the colors are crisp and pleasing, and the soundtrack is superb. I would certainly recommend this to my freshman sister after a terrible breakup.