Netflix A-Z is back! We’re continuing on. Last time, before I left for vacation, we ended on H as in How I Live Now. So far, the Netflix list has been quite a discovery. Not all total winners but all have their charm. I Believe in Unicorns has caught my eye for a while but it sounds rather odd so I haven’t watched it yet. Here is the perfect opportunity!
Let’s check it out!
I Believe in Unicorns (2015)
Director and writer: Leah Meyerhoff
Cast: Natalia Dyer, Peter Vack, Julia Garner, Toni Meyerhoff
A road trip through the stunning and complex landscape of troubled young love.-IMDB
I Believe in Unicorns is an odd film. It is a coming of age tale for a teenage girl, Davina. Davina has had quite the tough life when her mother learned about a disease while she was pregnant with her. As a result, her father also has left the picture. All her life, she has been taking care of her sick mother who can no longer walk. Davina takes selfies of herself a lot and she seems to be unease with herself for the most part. She seems sad about many things. Her joy is to hide away in her imaginary world sometimes through her dreams that features herself as a fairy of sorts that has a unicorn. Or maybe she is the unicorn. Until in the real world, she meets an older guy called Sterling. Right off the bat, as the audience, we already know, Sterling has something. It may be the crowd he is in or the easiness he has of stealing from vending machine or convenience stores. It might be that sly smile or that changing attitude. Many many warning signs. However, at the beginning, Davina falls in love with him and is wrapped up in the beauty and joy of this relationship. Until it starts falling apart…
I Believe in Unicorns takes on a roller coaster ride of looking at various issues of coming of age, mostly in the form of young love, first love (perhaps) and the loss of love. Or even the desire to feel loved. Lots of loving going on. And it shows, there is quite a few making out scenes in here but its done not in revealing way but yet holds the powerful message and dynamic it needs. This movie probably deserves extra viewings. While the real life aspect of it is rather easy to decipher where the story is going, its fantasy parallel with unicorns and Davina as a fairy (or magical creature of some sort finding its wings) create a lot of symbolism. It starts lighthearted in a wonderment and eventually descends into a world of battle. The question I kept asking myself was what is the symbolism of the unicorn? Does it represent first love, or the love she has for Sterling and their relationship, or innocence or simply her naivety or childhood? To really understand this is that we follow Davina who seems to really live in this fantasy world for us to understand her feelings and its how we learn about how she really feels despite her innocent exterior in reality. As the road trip goes on and Davina and Sterling start to fall apart a little, Davina become more vocal about what she wants and how she feels and eventually have a confidence that we didn’t see at the start. What I’m saying is that other than the role being written really well, Natalia Dyer does really well in showing off Davina’s character and development.
I Believe in Unicorns probably isn’t for everyone. Its pretty odd and a little slow and its really reading between the lines. Davina’s character has quite a bit of development as she realizes that running away from her problems and believing that the feeling of first love she had in the first place might be misplaced. Its a lot of realizations. There is something very unique about this movie that makes it not only extremely fitted in the indie scene but also profound and thought-provoking. The parallels breath life into this coming of age between fantasy and reality. When her first love dies, her innocence and naivety seem to leave with it. Watching the process of her growing up and truly being an adult at the end is a very well-written journey. It shows talent not only in the storytelling abilities of the writer-director but also the young star, Natalia Dyer.
I think it is time to check out Stranger Things…
Have you seen I Believe in Unicorns? What did you think?
Next up is letter J! Any guesses?