Dawn is a quiet young teenager who longs for something or someone to free her from her sheltered life.
This movie is billed as the directorial debut of actress Rose McGowan. I’m sure many of you will recognize her from her various acting roles including TV’s “Charmed”, the movies “Scream”, “Jawbreaker” and “Planet Terror” and her three year engagement to rocker Marilyn Manson. Ms. McGowan has always proven to be a very competent and intelligent actor who sometimes chooses risqué roles to break away from the norm and with “Dawn”, she proves herself very adept at directing, a double threat in Hollywood.
The movie starts in 1961 with Dawn (Tara Lynne Barr), a beautiful young woman who lives a very sheltered life, compliments of her parents. When they pull into a gas station, her mother is talking about the dangers of boys and at that particular moment, Dawn sees Charlie (Reiley McClendon), an attendant who works at the station. He smiles at her and before she can smile back, her mother is all over her again. One night, a young woman called Mary (Hannah Marks) appears outside her bedroom window.
With her, is Charlie. They talk briefly and she invites them over to her house the next day when her parents will be out of town. While listening to some records, Charlie invites Dawn out to the movies and she reluctantly agrees but it’s a choice she will end up regretting and one that will change her life forever. The overall look and style of the movie is immaculate, from the costumes right down to the locales, everything is as it should be for 1961. The acting, particularly that of Tara Lynne Barr as the titular character, is flawless.
She gives a very engaging and likable performance, eerily reminiscent of a young Anna Faris but without the slapstick that usually accompanies her in many of her movies. The only issue I had was with the ending of the movie. Without giving anything away, the film shifts along at a nice steady pace and then unexpectedly, it suddenly switches gears and ends very abruptly and unconvincingly. It almost felt like the writer couldn’t decide upon how to end the movie and out of sheer frustration, threw their arms up into the air and used the current conclusion.
It basically ruined the rest of the movie because while I understand it was supposed to be a big twist in the film, the fact that the movie never once throws out a red herring to try and deceive you, only for it to reappear later on, comes across as just plain lazy. I would have given the movie a much higher rating if the ending had been properly actualized but as it stands, it’s a good-looking movie with a superb central performance which is let down by a contrived denouement that is not in the least bit satisfying.
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