December 28, 2014 -- Actress Brandy Burre stars in a movie about herself and her family which is a bit like a cross between a documentary and a reality TV show. I would think this would appeal mainly to fans of the TV show “The Wire” and others who are familiar with Brandy Burre and her work.
Brandy took seven years off after “The Wire” before she appeared in her next film, “Listen Up Philip.” In that time, she had two children with her partner, Tim Reinke, a restaurateur. I've never seen “The Wire,” but I did see “Listen Up Philip” recently. I don't remember her from that film, but hers was a minor role.
This film follows Brandy as she makes the difficult and messy transition from domestic life back into show business. The film was made by Brandy's next door neighbor in Beacon, N.Y., Robert Greene (who edited “Listen Up Philip” and directed “Fake it So Real”). This helps to explain how Greene was able to get such intimate access to Brandy and her family.
This documentary film blurs the line between reality and drama with what appears to be a dramatic performance by Brandy, along with her own narration and interviews. Brandy talks a lot about her unhappiness with show business and why she took the time off to have children. She also explains her unhappiness with domestic life and her desire to get back into show business. She wants to make a living for herself as an actress and to regain her financial independence. This film is clearly a way to do that.
We actually see Brandy have a romantic meeting with another man. Reinke finds out about it and moves out. We get at least a hint of how this breakup affects the children. Through all of this, however, we really never get to hear Reinke's views on all this.
There is an interview where Brandy emotionally describes her failed efforts to get a diaper changing station in Reinke's pub (Birdsall House) as one reason for her unhappiness with Reinke. That seems a bit of a stretch as a reason for a breakup.
The upshot of all this seems to be that Reinke is spending a lot of time at work and Brandy feels isolated and unfulfilled creatively. That is a common problem. We hear her talking to an agent and friend about how best to get her career started up again. Brandy also gets frustrated at losing parts to younger actresses.
Around the last 20 minutes of this film, I was checking to see how much longer it was going to last. It was dragging quite a bit. I was interested enough in the story, however, to check to see how Brandy's career is going, and she does have two movies in release in 2014, including this one, and another in post-production as I write this, so she's got some work as an actress.
People in show business find themselves fascinating. I'm interested in them, of course, but not necessarily fascinated. This is essentially a depiction of an unremarkable life of an actress I was not previously familiar with. If I was a fan of “The Shield” or Brandy, I probably would have found this a lot more interesting. What happens to Brandy and her family in this film are the same things that happen to millions of other people. It isn't boring, but it isn't fascinating, either. This film rates a C.
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