I might be biased because I know some of the masterminds behind it, but I’m always excited by what movies Snowfort Pictures puts out. Starting with Jodorowsky’s Dune, they had a string of great genre films like Cheap Thrills, Starry Eyes, and We Are Still Here. I’ve also always enjoyed seeing Fabianne Therese in genre flicks, but she’s normally relegated to a supporting role. When I found out Therese was working with Snowfort to make Teenage Cocktail, you can only imagine my excitement! I was so excited that I waited ten months after its premiere at SXSW to catch it on Netflix. I know, I’m basically one of those guys who got in line for Star Wars months in advance. Maybe waiting ten months might seem like I wasn’t really that excited for the movie, but I’d say letting my anticipation die down over that long stretch of time allowed me to just sit back, relax, and thoroughly enjoy the lesbian coming-of-age thriller.
The conceit of “These adult actresses are too old for high school” is tough to buy, but hey, it’s the movies!
Annie (Nichole Bloom) isn’t fitting in at her new school in a new town, getting bullied by other students and resenting her parents for making her move. The only person she connects with is Jules (Therese), who quickly connect with one another and become inseparable. Every conflict Annie has in her life strengthens her bond with Jules, whom she realizes she feels more strongly for than your average “friend.” As Annie explores her feelings, she learns that Jules has been making money on the side by webcamming, which Annie joins in on to make even more of a profit. Desperate for cash to move to New York, the pair decide to take their escapades to the next level, going so far as to meet one of their fans, Frank (Pat Healy), who’s been watching them for quite some time. Surprisingly, two teenage girls meeting up with a family man for a sexual tryst goes into some dark territory and all three realize they’re all in over their heads and get more than they bargained for.
Ugh, why can’t moms just understand us girls and our desires to be webcam ladies!?
This might come as a surprise, but I’m not now, nor have I ever been, a teenage girl who is exploring her sexuality. I know, it’s hard to believe! That being said, Bloom and Therese have wonderful chemistry together and their fluid transition from best friends to more than friends but maybe just best friends was adorable and enthralling. Although two nubile actresses exploring their sexuality was sexy, I never felt like they were being objectified for the sake of the male gaze. However, my gaze is that of a male, so if other people disagreed with me, I’d have to take their word for it. Either way, Therese was as enjoyable as I imagined she’d be and she and Bloom played quite well off of one another. Healy put in another “Classic Pat Healy” performance, which in my opinion is described as “very good.”
If this whole “movie actress” thing doesn’t work out for her, this film will be a great reel for Therese to become a lollipop commercial superstar.
The film was written, directed, and edited by John Carchietta, and the look of the film follows the recent trend of “Slick and Stylish California.” What is this style, you say? Well, much like pornography, I’d say, “I know it when I see it,” and once you watch Teenage Cocktail, you’ll know exactly what I mean. From the opening sequence, you know that the film will take some dangerous turns, with the pacing and plot points escalating organically. My biggest gripe with the film is that, even though the audience knows the film will go to some dark places, we don’t get enough scenes like this and I felt robbed of some great work from Healy. The lead trio doesn’t share the screen too often, but Therese’s Jules is seductively taunting and Frank is desperately smitten so I would have loved seeing more scenes where the performers got to use their strengths. Mind you, I suppose it’s better to leave audiences wanting more than to wish the film had been shorter, but the ending felt abrupt and I wish we had gotten even five more minutes of these three characters playing off one another. Still, the look, tone, and performances are incredibly alluring and exciting, with just enough latent darkness to appeal to genre fans.
Wolfman Moon Scale