Women is Losers Movie Review
An earnest if not particularly powerful drama, Women is Losers gives Lorenza Izzo an opportunity to flex her acting muscles, but otherwise this feminist tale of breaking the glass ceiling is hamstrung by a production that is at once overly ambitious and not nearly ambitious enough. More on that later.
Written and directed by Lissette Filiciano, the grammatically scarring titled film is inspired by a Janice Joplin song of the same name but lacks the raw, kinetic energy of the singer and song. Set in the 1960s, the movie follows Celina (Izzo) from the time she gets pregnant in high school to her defying the odds and becoming a successful businesswoman and homeowner. Filiciano is unafraid to be unconventional at times, most notably by allowing her characters to break the fourth wall to properly emote their inner voice.
I can’t say I was particularly fond of this approach, but arguably the bigger problem is that Filiciano doesn’t utilize it nearly enough to be effective. If speaking to the audience is going to be part of the movie’s motif, stick to it; it happens inconsistently enough that every time it does, it’s jarring. Distracting.
It also feels like a cheap way to express emotion, and expressing emotion is something that Women is Losers struggles with. While the core story is moving enough, there’s something just slightly off about the whole production. Not only does the movie not always feel like it’s set in the 60s--the way people talk sometimes feels too modern, for example--but the writing and acting occasionally comes off as forced. It’s a weird thing to say, but every time a character cries… it comes off as fake. Forced. Insincere. Over-acted.
Despite all this, Izzo holds her own and delivers a likeable, realized protagonist. Celina’s story is a little too generic--in addition to being inspired by Joplin’s song, it is also “inspired by real women”--but Filiciano clearly has passion for the subject matter and Izzo helps bring that passion to life. The movie gets better as it goes along, with the third act being especially strong.
Women is Losers has its moments, but very little of the movie, including its awkward title, fully clicks.
This movie was reviewed as part of coverage for the 2021 SXSW Film Festival
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.