Softness of Bodies follows American poet Charlotte living in Germany as she tries to win a coveted scholarship and maintain a strong social and love life.
I was quite excited to watch this film as the trailer had me intrigued – it looked like a brilliant fish out of water, coming of age story, maybe the promise of romance or self enlightenment. Softness of Bodies is none of these things, but it was a fascinating character study – one I can see people studying in years to come.
Charlotte is vapid, selfish, juvenile, entitled and utterly hate-able. But also one of the most realistic characters I’ve seen on screen in years. She was at times hard to watch, as you just wanted to slap her and tell her to do something, anything. But I am sure I have been Charlotte many times in my life, and had many friends put up with my vapid onslaught of never ending need.
She drinks, smokes, parties, dabbles in drugs. She has an extreme kleptomania problem which leads her in to many different levels of trouble. She is loose with sex and has no problem sleeping with married men. Her biggest crime is her terrible poetry. I could never quite grasp if it was intentionally bad, or just didn’t work for me. But the many hints that it might also be plagiarised cement just what a vile and terrible young woman she is. But she’s in her 20’s, so y’know, yolo.
The film is convincingly acted and I look forward to seeing Dasha Nekrasova in future work. She’s captivating to watch on screen and commands attention in every scene. Story pacing is slow but engaging, and whilst watching I kept waiting for something to go wrong, and when an inevitable incident does happen, it was somewhat worse than expected, and the direction writer/director Jordan Blady chooses was so in keeping with Charlotte’s character, but also had me eyes jumping out of the skull.
Without spoiling too much of the ending, it’s true to say that Charlotte learns nothing throughout the film and does not develop at all throughout the story. And that might make her one of the most terrifying narcissists to be written in the 21st century.
It’s a slow burner of a film and not anything you’ll be running to tell your friends to watch, but if you’ve got a spare hour or so and want to be terrified about the young adults of today? Softness of Bodies is for you.
Softness of Bodies is on Amazon Prime now