It is no surprise to know that the film industry is a tough nut to crack for women, especially for aspiring screenwriters and filmmakers. Certain films have highlighted what an all-female cast can do in front of the camera but behind it, a majority of them have not made much of an impact. So, when you have a British independent film starring some of Britain’s hottest female talent with a female director, there is hope for something different.
Powder Room focuses on a series of conversations in a nightclub powder room, which centre on the down-and-out Sam (Sheridan Smith), who is out with her old college friend Michelle (Kate Nash). Sam weaves a web of lies to hide her unexciting life, but interactions with her dysfunctional best friends (including Jaime Winstone), who are coincidently in the same nightclub, soon see her fake front crumble – forcing her to revaluate her life choices.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot that can be taken from Powder Room. The humour fails to pack a punch and the stark and almost crude portrayals of its characters seem to overwhelm the film. In the eyes of some, Powder Room portrays British women in a negative light – basically, what audiences will see is young women, dying for attention while hiding their insecurities behind promiscuity and drugs. The characters are nothing special in terms of creativity and the fact that our protagonist prefers to create a charade to hide her life decisions rather than celebrate on what she does have doesn’t give the audience much to aspire to.
However, given that this is a debut feature, it is impressive to see an all-female cast ensemble starring some of the country’s influential young talent and the series of vignettes weave well together especially on the film’s modest budget.
The concept and casting choices of Powder Room makes you wonder whether this is supposed to bridge the gap for pro-female film audiences, especially as romantic comedies are slowly dying down in terms of originality. If that was its objective, it failed miserably.
Powder Room ultimately fails to capture the attention of its audience and by playing on truths behind the goings-on of a typical night out, it almost makes you want to stay in and watch a DVD.
Powder Room is out in UK cinemas on 6th December 2013.
Director: M.J. Delaney
Stars: Sheridan Smith, Jaime Winstone, Kate Nash
Runtime: 86 min