LGBT Film Festival 2015: Fresno (2015)

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Courtesy of Cortney Wilson

Shannon and Martha are sisters who work as maids in a hotel in Fresno. Shannon is a sex offender who can`t help herself and sleeps with anyone she can. One day, her sister Martha finds her with Boris in one of the hotel rooms, and after a short argument, Shannon accidentally kills Boris defending her sister. Instead of calling the police, the two co-dependant sisters decide to hide the body and live their lives as if nothing bad has had happened at all.  And more trouble brews for the sisters when they begin to rely on other people to protect their little secret…

Fresno, directed by Jamie Babbit, begins with Shannon, where we follow her as she is locked behind bars. Shortly after, she takes back, two years earlier, to tell the story of how she ended up in jail. As we follow Shannon and her sister`s life closely, we find both of them living alone and dealing with their own internal issues. Martha is the younger sister, who is looking after the older one to keep her out of trouble due to her disease called – ‘sexual offender’. Being busy with babysitting her adult sister, Martha ignores the attentions of Kelly (Aubrey Plaza), who seems to be falling for her.

As the film progresses we find the sisters involved in an accidental murder, committed by Shannon, and we see how they try to cover it up. Meantime, when Shannon finally meets someone who can save her from herself, she once again screws things up due to her illness. Fresno could have been an interesting film to watch if the story itself had depth and were profoundly done. As the viewer tries to understand and appreciate the relationship between the two sisters, it concentrates on many unnecessary scenes and loses its point.

Fresno is not a bad film, however, it hardly can be called a good one. In order for the viewer to be satisfied with the film, he must wait almost an hour for things to get dynamic; for Martha to finally realize that she has to move on, and start building her own life with the one who she is so fond of. This could have been a well-deserved ending if the plot had been developed in a bit more dramatic way, to make us sympathize for one character or another. The last ten minutes of the film finally brings a conclusion to the story and will bring tears to your eyes, although this could have been done a bit earlier if the film had been done with more effort and desire.

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