Starring: Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Karren Karagulian, Mickey O’Hagan, James Ransome
Directed By: Sean Baker
What did I just watch? I honestly didn’t know anything about Tangerine before I watched it, other than that critics loved it and it was shot on an IPhone. Just. Wow. I can honestly say there was nothing like Tangerine released this year. It’s campy. It’s real. It’s surprising. It’s honest. It’s actually what indie film should strive to be. A great film with unknown actors about the kind of topics that Hollywood is ignoring. This topic? Trans prostitutes. Yes. I loved a campy comedy about trans prostitutes.
Sin-Dee (Rodriguez) has just been released from prison after a few weeks stay. She meets up with her BFF Alexandra (Taylor), who lets it slip that her pimp/boyfriend (Ransome) has been cheating on her. Sin-Dee sets out on a quest across Los Angeles on Christmas Eve to find that fish and put her in her place. Ain’t no woman gonna steal Sin-Dee’s man. Sliding around in the story also is a taxi driver, Razmik (Karagulian), who has a thing for trans prostitutes, specifically Sin-Dee.
Tangerine cast actual trans actresses Rodriguez and Taylor in the lead roles, which is refreshing, and keeps the film honest. These girls know how to work it, which probably adds to the honesty I felt in their performances. Seriously, they don’t make movies like this. If Sean Baker hadn’t told this story, I don’t think anyone would have. It’s really ballsy. It’s definitely one of the most original movies I’ve seen in a long time. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Sometimes, I enjoy being pleasantly surprised.
For those who missed Tangerine in theatres, its on Netflix. You should catch it.
FINAL GRADE: A