A Perfect Ending is the most recent lesbian romance by writer/director Nicole Conn. It stars Jessica Clark, Barbara Niven, Morgan Fairchild and John Heard. Nicole Conn is best known for her films Claire of the Moon and Elena Undone.
My wife and I sat down to this film imagining that it, at least, could not be as bad as Elena Undone, and hoping for an evening full of pleasant surprises.
We were disappointed, when we thought that was almost impossible.
I understand that as a lesbian, I am supposed to wax lyrical about Conn’s contribution to lesbian cinema. The problem with that is that I haven’t actually enjoyed more than 5 continuous minutes of her film and I’ve seen 3 of her films so far. I watch a lot of films, in a lot of different genres, and I enjoy most of them. I want to like things I spend my time watching, and part of me wants to spend all my time cheering people on who make lesbian film. But I just can’t pretend away some things.
Where Elena Undone was cheesy, A Perfect Ending was just wrong.
I’m imagining it was pitched as a lesbian Pretty Woman-meets-The L Word-meets-Old School Dallas. The story is about a wealthy family woman in her 50s who admits to her friends that she’s never had an orgasm. They immediately suggest she sees a female prostitute. She does, amidst actual pearl clutching. She has an orgasm, and develops feelings for the sex worker who says she chose her career for valid reasons, but really means she’d like the wealthy white lady to rescue her from her choices. No, I’m not making this up.
Where are all the lesbians?
Conn dispensed with the cheesy narrative devices, like the Soulemetry Guru from Elena Undone, and for that, I am grateful. I am not entirely uninterested in seeing an older woman and a younger woman lesbian film, either. There were moments, flashes of dialogue and truth in this film that made me laugh out loud. Conn, however, cannot hold back on some old tropes. There’s the straight woman falling for a woman (can’t we just have a lesbian film about lesbians?), and there is also the Inconvenient Husband who is not just inconvenient, but a monster. It seems bizarre to me that you’d remove that side of the drama by making the husband such a blatant disaster. My problem with this, is Conn’s depiction of straight women who fall for women is that they seem to do so only because they are married to such uninteresting or monstrous men.
There is also some strange camera work and editing. At one point, she moves as if she’s in a dream. She grabs a bottle of booze and then she puts down the glass, empty. She stands to answer the door, and in the same second, the door is open. It’s choppy and startling.
To me, the film is a complete disaster of bad storytelling, weird depictions of sex workers, and some worrying racial themes.
That said, a lot of people will disagree and I’ll probably get called names in the internet again, so you probably owe it to yourself to watch it and see what you think.
A Perfect Ending is available on DVD and Video-on-Demand and is distrubuted by Peccadillo Pictures.