Tequila Grapefruit Review
By Vanessa Nim (May 17th, 2018)
Directed by: Garance Chagnon-Grégoire
Written by: Garance Chagnon-Grégoire
Produced by: Joëlle Arseneau
Key Cast: Elizabeth Tremblay-Gagnon, Daphnée Côté-Halle, Joakim Robillard
Tequila Grapefruit, from screenwriter and director, Garance Chagnon-Grégoire, is a simple and captivating story about the woes of sisterhood and young love. The film follows the love struck Fanny (Elizabeth Tremblay Gagnon) and her “fun looking” sister, Justine (Daphnée Côté-Hallé), as Fanny sets out to finally make a move on her crush, Alex (Joakin Robillard). When Fanny strikes out with Alex, she directs her heartbreak towards her sister. Despite Fanny’s outlash against her, Justine still returns to her, bringing the particular warmth and unfaltering support of sisterhood. The film’s familiar story line of young love and loss is perfectly encapsulated by the cast’s natural, subtle performances and Chagnon-Grégoire’s effective directorial choices.
Chagnon-Grégoire’s directorial choices in Tequila Grapefruit are a testament to her abilities as both a storyteller and an artist. The film is soaked in pointed, intimate nostalgia, and Chagnon-Grégoire’s artistic storytelling techniques carry us through Fanny’s night as if we are reliving a memory.
Under Chagnon-Grégoire’s direction, Gagnon’s evocative performance as Fanny highlights the films themes of young love. The subtle melodrama in her performance perfectly reflects the exaggerated emotion of being young and in love. Wide eyed and awkwardly bold, Gagnon’s portrayal encompasses the hope, turmoil and embarrassment of love and jealousy and is a great compliment to the artistic composition of Cagnon-Grégoire’s film.
Beyond this, what truly brings Tequila Grapefruit together as a poignant expression of wistful nostalgia is the easy sibling banter between Gagnon and Côté-Hallé. The natural, snippy back and forth between the two actors underscores the films messages on the particular warmth of sisterhood. This theme on the unique relationship between sisters is what sets Tequila Grapefruit apart from similar films on young love. By not only incorporating this relationship, but centering it, Chagnon-Grégoire has created a more rounded and deeper story than other films. The depth gained from this choice is a key element to the film’s atmosphere of memory.
Tequila Grapefruit is artistically composed to be viewed through the starry, reflective eyes of reminiscence. Set with lyric-less thumping bass and dressed in deep, dreamy hues, the film feels less like we are watching a story about someone else, someone distant, and more like we are slipping through our own memories. Chagnon-Grégoire uses a number of techniques to mimic the breathless, consuming and emotionally taxing experiences of young love, rejection and the warmth of sisterhood.
Throughout the film, Chagnon-Grégoire uses a number of elements to bring us into Fanny’s common experience. When Fanny first sees Alex as he enters the party, we are embraced by the relatable disorientation Fanny experiences through slow motion pacing and muter, pulsating music. Afterwards, we are brought into the gravitational pull of young love as photographic cuts of carefree dancing youth, layered with popping, melodic synth and rhythmic coloured lighting, are interspersed with shots of a hopeful, wide eyed Fanny canvassing the party for Alex. And, at the end, the still frames and quiet, minimal blue of Fanny’s bedroom wrap us in the painfully familiar desolateness of rejection and jealousy.
- Vanessa Nim