Please Baby Please
It starts off like West Side Story – with a song, pleading with one’s sweetheart, and dancing. Then, cutting through newlywed bohemian couple Suze and Arthur’s life, they witness a murder by a tough greaser gang in front of their house on the Lower East Side. Their lifestyle is shaken up – clarinettist Arthur doesn’t want to be rewarded for the status his sex bestows on him, while Suze dilutes her days as a housewife with a restlessness about her gender. Meanwhile, their neighbour engages in polyamory and receives pleasure from the dishwasher. Surprisingly, the greaser gang will rewrite both the ending to West Side Story as well as the rules of sexuality!
A pseudo-musical held up by lots of hair wax, the film dons a black biker jacket, making a god out of Marlon Brando’s perspiring Stanley in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). Director Amanda Kramer has given her stellar cast – Andrea Riseborough, Demi Moore, and Harry Melling from The Queen’s Gambit (2020) – a very witty dialogue to play with, which adds an extra layer to this hyper-stylised comedy about gender and social norms. John Waters himself could have made this queer film in the 1950s, a film which relentlessly asks: how should one be a “real” woman or man in an era that feeds us so many contradictions in shades of neon pink and blue? And the macho Brando – how can anyone resist him?