the guest house
Written and Directed: Michael Baumgarten
Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. That was what I was saying to myself for most of the 90+ minutes of this movie. But there were sex scenes in the middle that were reasonably hot, so I watched that. But then I started shaking my head again. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.
The Guest House is one of those films with an all-too-convenient setup that is reminiscent of the "oh my sink is clogged, maybe I'll call the plumber" plot lines in porn films. Rachel is a just-turned-18 goth girl (gotta make sure she’s legal! Let's emphasise she's 18!) who is in the middle of a rebellious phase after losing her mother to cancer. She has a workaholic, playboy dad who is always away, and a loser boyfriend who has just broken up with her. So she’s mad, sexy and single, ya know? Oh, and she's grounded, so she can't leave the house for any reason.
Her dad asks her to entertain a guest who is staying over before beginning work for his company (huh? When would that ever happen? Oh I don’t know, maybe if she’s one of his previous conquests..?) Enter sexy older woman Amy, who has a relationship complex. She wants to be successful in business and has a screw them and leave them attitude to men. But she’s not faced with a man. She’s faced with a horny, sexy goth girl who is in her face immediately with wine and song (she’s an aspiring songwriter) and a way of flipping her hair just so…
After a day of fun in the sun trouping around Los Angeles tourist spots and realising that they have a lot in common (wait, wasn't she grounded?), Rachel decides to throw herself at Amy. Amy accepts. Next thing we know we are in the middle of some serious action.
Honestly, the sex is pretty hot. Rewind and watch it again. Pause for a while on the shower scenes. This film may have accomplished what Inescapable tried to do but failed, a lesbian soft-porn film that has a modicum of story that doesn’t make you want to throw things at the screen.
The chemistry between the leads is pretty good. Then, watch how ridiculous it is that after having all that hot sex they each put their bras and panties back on again so they can go to sleep. OK, it’s a stupid niggle but there you have it. However, it is convenient on film for them to wake up not completely naked so we can continue seamlessly into day two of their blissful first weekend romantic banter as the camera lingers longingly over their underwear.
Amy isn’t a perfect catch though. She has a secret, and when it comes out it wrenches our heroines apart. Rachel dismisses Amy almost without a word, it’s brutal and senseless and finally it seems like Rachel is acting like a normal teenager. It’s actually kind of a relief.
The film does continue on, skipping a few months as we move to watching Rachel finally breaking out of her shell and making steps towards that music career she’s always wanted. She looks older, wiser, like she’s had hot sex with an older woman. Oh wait, she has, and the older woman has just walked through the door of the coffee house to hear her play! We move towards the classic reconciliation ending. And I’m back to shaking my head.
The Guest House is pure fluffy lesbian movie cliché time, but it’s meant to be. I feel a bit suspicious of this film too. It doesn't feel made for women. I know I get accused of finding ulterior motives in low budget films, but this feels made for men to ogle women having sex with each other. The good news it isn’t trying to be anything more than this, but I felt a bit hoodwinked while watching it, and a bit creeped out.
There are some ethical issues raised, some family drama that could have been halfway interesting is brought up but never explored which is a missed opportunity, and everything wraps up too neatly. Whether you watch this or not seriously depends on whether you just watch everything where there’s two women having sex, or you don’t.
If you do, I’d advise coming in with your eyes open, and your expectations set to loooooow.