Sean Baker’s ‘Tangerine’ (2015) is a film like no other. Shot on a iPhone 5S on the streets of Los Angeles, Baker ensures that we – the viewers – are totally submerged in the story from start to finish. It’s the director’s contemporary vision, combined with lead actresses’ (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor) performances which make for an unforgettable experience.
‘Tangerine’ follows two transgender sex workers who embark on an adventure through West Hollywood in order to find Sin-Dee’s (Rodriguez) cheating pimp boyfriend, while also doing their daily street work (i.e. dealing with terrible clients and the general trials and tribulations that are part and parcel of sex work). The people they meet along the way change their fate, and day through the night ends up being a bit of a disaster.
This is no sob story, however. ‘Tangerine’ is genuinely funny and rewatchable, and includes some classic film gags and laughable, cringey moments. Though the best characteristic of the film is its depiction of sisterhood, and the strong bond that forms between the two main characters, mostly out of safety. Rodriguez and Taylor make the most believable protagonists as they talk to each other like they’ve known each other since birth.
While ‘Tangerine’ may be an extremely underrated film, it has been highly praised by both critics and the community, gaining an impressive 96% on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s a film which has the potential to become a cult classic in 10-20 years’ time, and an example of low budget indie filmmaking with a purpose. The dialogue and chemistry in ‘Tangerine’ is so good that it could be filmed on a Nintendo DS and I still wouldn’t care.
Rent or buy this one online, you won’t regret it!