Written and Directed by: #VanessaMariveles
Short film review by: Brian Penn
And the award for most inventive film title goes to Vanessa Mariveles for this intelligent, well-judged short feature. Bi-curious Sleepover explores how a friendship can take on a more intimate dimension when the crowd disappears. After hosting a game night with friends, Stephanie (Shannon Holloway) insists her best friend Amanda (Sarah Thompson) spend the night after having too much to drink. Their friendship is put to the test when Amanda discovers a sex toy and decides to explore her bi-curiosity with Stephanie. It uncovers deep seated feelings both women have for each other as another side of their personalities come to the fore.
The film wisely avoids an explicit portrayal, largely going for the before and after scenario as fallout from the previous night becomes all too apparent. In many respects it’s the ‘after’ conversations that are more revealing when we discover their motivation and learn more about the characters. Soft lighting adds a cosy glow as the audience are left to ponder whether alcohol is the great persuader doing all the talking; or whether it’s unlocked feelings that have always been there. But is Amanda just sightseeing and unable to see how vulnerable Stephanie appears to be?
On the downside, credibility is stretched as to how Amanda discovers the aforementioned sex toy. Such minor niggles aside it’s a piece handled with sensitivity, showing a deep appreciation of the human condition and how a friendship can escalate. It seems entirely incidental that two women are featured in the storyline; it could just as easily be two men or a straight couple realising they have deeper feelings. Of course that would defeat the object of the narrative. But the characters’ sexuality is not the crux of this story; it is more about friends who become lovers and whether the relationship can survive the transition.