Sometimes a plot is more than enough to keep the audience interested when the characters are substantial enough to carry it from beginning to end. But when the creative opportunity comes to add a second story that might even work as a twist, it can get better. In the case of Funny Face, one story was enough to keep the passion for the characters alive but, like the antagonists in this story, someone or something let greed take over.
Zama (Dela Meskienyar) is a girl from a culturally conservative family and, when no one is looking, she tries to lead her life under her own ideals. One day, after almost getting caught stealing a packet of peanuts at a local grocery store, she meets Saul (Cosmo Jarvis), a boy with anger issues caused by his favorite basketball team losing every game and the insistence of the rich wanting to deprive the poor of what little they have left. Together they begin to spend their days learning from each other and, in a way, Zama helps keep Saul’s inner peace. But what are their boiling points and how far could they go to help each other?
Funny Face, from my point of view, it is a story of friendship threatened by the gentrification of an urban area. At times it tries to bring relevance to the “villains” but due to the underestimated number of minutes that evil appears on screen, they’re felt as irrelevant elements that try to affect the relationship of the new best friends already dealing with family, social and cultural issues that are relevant and bulky enough to lead to the representation of anyone in the real world. Kudos to Cosmo Jarvis for his interpretation of Saul that, even though it’s not implied to represent a character with a mental health issue but you know it’s there, has an amazing and extensive monologue after his breaking point is met.
Some of the shots are so wide that at times you may think you are watching a feature art film— you see more of the characters’ surroundings than their features. In a certain way, this helps to understand part of the motives of each one, but the shots are so many that sometimes it feels like the point gets lost in translation and they’re so long that expectation begins to disappear and it gets replaced with anticipation— you know what’s going to happen and you know how it’ll end by when the second act concludes. These panoramic shots, depending on the scene they are recreating, can be appreciated or hated by the use of the natural lighting and excessive dark tones that exposes the film grain filter plus others used to give it a plastered exacerbated feeling.
Funny Face, for whatever it is supposed to be about, feels more relatable when the plot revolves around meeting new people in a greedy and greasy world. Despite the ups and downs that the story presents, at the end while the credits roll you might wonder what the heck did you just watch and reconsider if it is feasible to rescue the central story above the annexes that should spice up the plot but in the end make it feel a little stale.
7 OUT OF 10 PIZZA SLICES