Beeswax

Overview

In this typically low-key comedy drama from independent writer/director Andrew Bujalski, Jeannie Tilly Hatcher and Lauren Maggie Hatcher are a pair of twin sisters living in Austin, TX, who are close without having much in common. Jeannie, who is confined to a wheelchair, runs a well-established vintage clothing store called Storyville with her longtime friend Amanda Anne Dodge, while Lauren drifts from job to job and is pondering an offer to teach English in Kenya. Jeannie and Amanda have had a falling out and ...
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Overview

In this typically low-key comedy drama from independent writer/director Andrew Bujalski, Jeannie Tilly Hatcher and Lauren Maggie Hatcher are a pair of twin sisters living in Austin, TX, who are close without having much in common. Jeannie, who is confined to a wheelchair, runs a well-established vintage clothing store called Storyville with her longtime friend Amanda Anne Dodge, while Lauren drifts from job to job and is pondering an offer to teach English in Kenya. Jeannie and Amanda have had a falling out and Jeannie is worried about her stake in the business, especially since the original partnership agreements were drawn up by Amanda's father. When Amanda suggests she may take legal action to take full control of Storyville, Jeannie decides she needs legal advice and turns to Merrill Alex Karpovsky, a former boyfriend who has almost completed his law degree. Merrill is feeling frazzled as he tries to pass the bar exam and he welcomes the distraction, but it isn't long before he forgets one of the first rules of legal ethics and begins sleeping with Jeannie. Lauren, meanwhile, wants to be of assistance to her sister, but she gets roped into helping her mother with her myriad problems while trying to make sense of her own future. Beeswax was an official selection at the 2009 South by Southwest Film Festival.
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Special Features

Alternate soundtrack: a musical experiment by D.J. Taitelbaum; "A Tribute to Extras" featurette; Official theatrical trailer; "Yes" & "No" trailer; Liner notes by Kevin Corrigan; Collectivle filmstrip form 16mm print
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Nathan Southern
The ├╝ber-low-key drama Beeswax embodies a stride forward for mumblecore progenitor Andrew Bujalski, though not a huge one. It's the tale of twin sisters in Austin, TX -- the paraplegic, wheelchair-bound Jeannie and the jobless, single Lauren played by real-life twins Tilly and Maggie Hatcher, respectively. The former runs a vintage clothing boutique called Storyville, the latter, fresh from a recent breakup, is considering accepting a job that will involve teaching English in Nairobi. A conflict erupts between Jeannie and her business partner, Amanda Anne Dodge, involving the proprietorship of Storyville; Jeannie seeks legal counsel, fearing that the conniving Amanda will sue her. Meanwhile, Jeannie also falls into a renewed romance and a deeper friendship with one of her exes, genial law student Merrill Alex Karpovsky. Though Bujalski's two prior efforts felt undeniably sweet and charming, they suffered from a few key problems, all tied to the mumblecore style. Most prominently, the endless meandering and weak narrative structures prompted one to question the thematic foundation of the drama. The films also suffered from the affectedness of the acting styles on display and shoestring production values. Beeswax improves dramatically on the narrative weaknesses of Bujalski's prior work. One of the inherent marvels of the film involves the deceptive impression of a lack of structure that suddenly and beautifully reveals itself in the final sequence. For much of the duration, we may find ourselves questioning where the drama is headed, and even if it has a particular destination in mind. But the final sequence sums it all up neatly and brings everything preceding it into razor-sharp focus; it becomes clear that the narrative is a series of thematic riffs on the emotional bonds that individuals can rely on to help one another get through life's turmoil, and the fractured or broken bonds that can make circumstances extraordinarily difficult. Bujalski's insights into his characters strike one as suitably mature and wise, if not quite profound. Despite these assets, however, the acting style and low-budget production values leave something to be desired. As in other mumblecore outings, the neophyte actors attempt to achieve realism by stuttering and stammering their way through scenes, and interjecting humorous non sequiturs at right angles to conversations. And that feels pretentious and strained, not real. A handful of other American features from the past decade notably Josh Sternfeld's Winter Solstice [2005] and Nicole Kassell's The Woodsman [2004] succeeded in pulling the audience into the poetry of everyday lives. But those films also benefited from the presence of major A-list actors who knew how to pull off naturalism without visibly straining, and the films recognized that audiences naturally embrace certain cinematic conventions, such as polished cinematography, as real. Beeswax misses those insights and suffers for it to a certain degree. We never quite forget that we're watching a film, and as a result, we fail to become completely enveloped by the drama unfurling onscreen. Though competent, the performances feel rehearsed. The picture feels pleasant, though. Both lead actresses here come across as transcendently likable, projecting spunk, humor, and grace -- especially Tilly Hatcher a paraplegic in real life, whose face and muscular upper body demonstrate a tough resilience alongside a gamine-like softness and playfulness. Bujalski obviously carries overwhelming admiration for his female performers and the characters they portray, and his feelings are thoroughly contagious.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/6/2010
  • UPC: 881164000200
  • Original Release: 2009
  • Rating:

  • Source: Cinema Guild
  • Language: English
  • Time: 1:32:00
  • Format: DVD
  • Sales rank: 46,000

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Tilly Hatcher Jeannie
Maggie Hatcher Lauren
Alex Karpovsky Merrill
Anne Dodge Amanda
Katy O'Connor Corinne
Janet Pierson Sally
Christy Moore
David Zellner Scott
Betty Blackwell Lila - lawyer
Bryan Poyser Jason - study buddy
Kyle Henry Michael
Rebecca McInroy Holly - office woman
Nathan Zellner Lee
Atietie Tonwe Emeka
Nina Sokol Naomi - office mom
Jillian Glantz Wynonna - office daughter
D.J. Taitelbaum A.C.
Becca Cohen Annemarie - customer
Moss Gillespie Tony - young boy
Chad Nichols Evan
Jimmy Gonzales Yann
Dia Sokol Maryann - customer
Bob Byington Tom
Smiley Moreno Ralph - parking lot man
Peggy Chen Jin
Technical Credits
Andrew Bujalski Director, Editor, Screenwriter
Peggy Chen Associate Producer
Matthias Grunsky Cinematographer
Houston King Executive Producer
Modulus Studios Sound Mixer
Dia Sokol Producer
Gary Stewart Executive Producer
Pacho Velez Sound/Sound Designer
Joseph Boyd Vigil Sound Mixer
Ethan Vogt Producer
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Beeswax
1. Storyville Boutique, How May I Help You? [5:38]
2. You Think I Need to Kill Her? [4:25]
3. Is This the Interview? [7:18]
4. Do You Need More of a Study Break? [5:49]
5. Was That Hot Sex? [7:19]
6. Is This One of Those Things Where You Might Get Arrested? [7:46]
7. Am I Not Hearing Myself? [6:18]
8. Why Would I Say That? [7:26]
9. Why Did We Break Up Again? [4:37]
10. Anal...Cougar? [6:08]
11. I Guess That's Why You're Here, Huh? [10:26]
12. Do You Know Many Dead People? [:36]
13. It's Kind of Like a Vaccine, Y'Know? [8:14]
14. Oh, Are You Two Twins? [4:46]
15. Breakfast? [5:38]
16. End Titles [5:05]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- Beeswax
   Play Beeswax
   Scenes
   Extras
      Alternate Soundtrack: A Musical Experiment by D.J. Taitelbaum
      A Tribute to Extras
      Theatrical Trailer
      'Yes & No' Trailer
      Other Titles From Cinema Guild
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