Duck Butter

Naima is having a bad day: she’s not fitting in on the set on an indie Duplass Brothers movie and her roommate is a bit of a wet blanket. So she’s in the right kind of mood to fall in love with the beautiful and exotic lead singer at the club that night, and she does. Naima and Sergio go home together and have an amazing time but when Sergio proposes that they should spend the next 24 hours together in an intense, sex-forward, date-skipping, get to really REALLY know you kind of thing.

Naima (Alia Shawkat) cuts and runs of course, as any sane person should. But when the Duplasses fire her she kind of has a change of heart and begs Sergio (Laia Costa) to forgive her reluctance and cowardice and soon enough, their little love experiment is in full swing. And how. These two ladies are not afraid to let shit get REAL. And it’s shot in nullsuch a way that things feel authentic and raw, and the intimacy translates so that we too are made uncomfortable by the too much, too fast. I totally get the wanting to fast forward past the awkward part of dating, the artifice of it,the hiding of one’s true self, but if there’s a way past it, all this movie does is prove that this isn’t it.

But it pretty compelling to watch. I mean: Alia Shawkat. She is a gift to the indie movie scene. She’s versatile and has a pure and brave energy. Her chemistry with Costa is terrific, as it absolutely must be to make this movie work. Shawkat and Costa are impressively willing to go there. It must have been emotionally draining to be so present and in the moment, but they give the movie a bold and brazen but fleeting vibe that’s unique to this 90 minute capsule.

The film is imperfect just like the characters, just like their romance. And if you can imagine spending 24 hours with a stranger who is also your lover and new best friend, it flags a bit in the middle, just like you’d do in real life. But there’s something just so refreshing and weird about this film, about the collision between two people in a certain time and place, that I couldn’t look away.

Now, if you need any more convincing that representation matters, here’s an interesting tidbit. On Rotten Tomatoes, Duck Butter is rated Fresh by nearly every single female critic, and it is rated Rotten by all the men save one. Movies mean different things to different people, and that’s okay. Just don’t let half of those people convince you theirs is the only opinion that matters.

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10 thoughts on “Duck Butter

  1. Carrie Rubin

    “Just don’t let half of those people convince you theirs is the only opinion that matters.”—Yes. That’s exactly what I tell my son when he poopahs a female-dominant movie that some Rotten Tomato critics have panned.

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  2. J.

    Sounds interesting and given that so many male critics responded negatively suggests it done something right. I wonder how they’d have responded to the same movie if a male director’s name was attached to it? I’ll look out for this one.

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  3. D. Wallace Peach

    I’m not sure that this movie falls into my interest range, but what an interesting commentary on the ratings by female and male reviewers on Rotton Tomatoes. I’m not surprised by the range of reviews, but it’s fascinating how they broke by gender. Hmm.

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  4. bookbeachbunny

    Interesting point about the divide on Rotten Tomatoes. I haven’t heard of this movie but it could be worth pointing out when people say oh, movies are movies and it shouldn’t matter who critiques them!

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  5. Liz A.

    An important reminder about being careful who you take advice from. Critics have their own biases, many of them are unaware. I find it fascinating that the men hated this. I might have to take a look-see.

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