Movie: Movies about women, especially those directed and written by women, can offer a unique perspective on the inner workings of the female mind. As a guy, this idea appeals to me; getting the inside scoop as it were, since women are always acting in an illogical way (to my mind at least). In a movie written and directed by a woman, Linda Kandel, Mascara, she takes a look at a relationship between three 30 year old women and the consequences of the poor choices they make over the course of a period of time.
The movie started off with one of the ladies, Laura (Lumi Cavazos), getting married to a sleazy loser, Donnie (Steven Schub). After a bit of exposition, the movie zips past to seven months later where she believes he's cheating on her. She walks in on him with another woman and her life spirals out of control when she finds he's charged over $47,000 on their credit cards. Jennifer, the second in this feminine trio, is an attractive blonde who likes sex but finds it elsewhere since her husband cheated on her and she reciprocated in spades (with every young guy that crosses her path). She's trapped by the joys of motherhood and finds it confining compared to her desires. The third woman is Rebecca (Ione Skye), a gal who is starting to form roots of her own with an older man, Nick (Steve Jones). Nick's biggest failing, in her eyes, is his closeness to his young daughter, not his age (he looked to be twice Rebecca's age). She suspects him of incestuous relations but doesn't want to believe it until the evidence mounts.
In any case, the movie is a look at how the three women go back to their roots in terms of finding that their friendship to one another is something far more valuable than they had previously thought, assuming that they'd find their calling by getting married and doing what was expected of them. Each is trapped in the role models that society places emphasis on and their ability to look past what is expected of them versus what they want, and need, which has been the crux of their real problems.
The acting of the three leads was very solid and if the direction had been as good, this might've been a sleeper hit of the year when it first came out. The writing seemed a bit off but then I'm a guy so both the direction and writing might be better for the intended audience (women between 18 and 45). If you want to look at a woman's point of view about the values of friendship over the foibles of doing what you're supposed to do, this might be a great choice for you. For my tastes, it's worth a Rent It but I prefer a story with a beginning, middle and end.
Picture: The picture was presented in the originally shot aspect ratio of 1.33:1 full frame color. The focus was off a lot, the picture grainy with video noise, and there were a lot of print scratches to go with the occasional compression artifacts but it wasn't horrible looking most of the time. It looked like a low budget independent movie, which it was, and that's no shame if the content is well done.
Sound: The audio was presented in stereo English with minimal separation most of the time. The vocals were clear if a bit hollow and the music was fairly interesting. The audio, in general at least, was commensurate with the video in terms of quality.
Extras: There was a trailer and some biographies as well as a set of still photos but no audio commentary as advertised. In short, the extras were lacking. There were definitely parts of the movie that would've benefited greatly by some explanation (to a guy at least).
Final Thoughts: I think the audio commentary listed on the DVD box cover might've added some enjoyment for me had it been included. Otherwise, the themes it explored were interesting to a point and the cast quite capable. If you're a female trying to make sense of the world, it might be something you'll enjoy more than I did.