Director: Lulu Keating
Writers: Lulu Keating
Cast: Britt Irvin, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Daniella Evangelista
Runtime: 87 min
Animation is used in many mainstream films as a means to create characters that would otherwise be impossible to bring to life naturally. Mixing techniques has often been used in independent films and documentaries to provide a different outlook into events, or the minds of characters. Lucille’s Ball utilizes many different filming techniques in order to create a feature with a unique look and atmosphere.
Lucille (Britt Irvin) is more than ready to start exploring sex with her steady boyfriend Casey (Cameron Anderson), but unfortunately, society keeps telling her that sex is sinful and something to be ashamed of. After her parents catch her attempting to do the deed with Casey, they decide to send her to a mission in Africa, where she will hopefully rekindle her religious faith and learn that chastity is important. While there, she meets two men who will allow her to blossom into a fully sexual entity, a role she is more than happy to fulfill. After her return from the mission, she decides to pursue a career in music, which will bring her many lovers, conflicts, and aches, but in the end will help her and the people around her discover a way to be comfortable with the choices they make.
While I can see the film comes from a very good place, I can’t help but point out the many flaws the whole experience had. The acting is unfortunately quite overdone, and although I understand this isn’t a veteran cast by any means, I felt most of the dialogue and interactions were quite awkward, and almost cheesy. This of course is mainly the script’s fault, which felt forced, and had several elements which I thought were completely unnecessary, such as the use of Africa as setting in the most void manner, without even specifying any particular aspects of location or culture. Instead, it is merely a plot device for Lucille to “discover herself” which in this day and age is quite frankly an overdone and boring concept.
Despite all this, the film does have very valuable qualities, especially artistically. The film makes use of animation to provide a broader point of view on Lucille’s way of thinking and the things she is feeling. The use of cut-outs gives the film a very infantile and innocent feeling that aids it in being a bright exploration of sexuality. The stop motion is also very refreshing, and it suits the film quite well. What I enjoyed the most was seeing the unrealistic sets, which gave the whole feature the look of a crafts project. This is quite an enjoyable way of transporting the viewer to different geographic areas without busy locations and expensive settings. Instead of looking cheap it gives the film a whimsical atmosphere that suites Britt Irvin’s character well.
I would describe Lucille’s Ball as a quaint experiment of film, which despite having the potential to create something new with its use of various film techniques, unfortunately falls into an overdone formula. Nonetheless the film definitely could appeal to some as a channel for nostalgia, or those who enjoy stories about struggling musicians trying to find and understand themselves.