Unmade Beds

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Unmade Beds

British filmmaker Nicholas Barker's Unmade Beds provides yet another glimpse at the loneliness of life in the Big Apple, a subject as endless as it is endlessly explored. What makes Unmade Beds worthwhile is its unique quasi-documentary approach. Like a true-life Rear Window, Unmade Beds scans the city's windows and takes a peek at the lives of four otherwise-anonymous silhouettes. The film's four subjects, two mateless men and two mateless women, are longtime players of the personal ads, all for different reasons. One man is a balding, often brutish screenwriter who's quick to dismiss "mutts," even though he is, contrary to his own beliefs, not exactly a catch. One woman is out to marry a man to help pay her rent and remove her dog's tumor. She can get "dick" anywhere, but she's in it for the money. The other two cope with selective physical traits—the man is 5'4", the woman 220 lbs.—and ticking biological clocks. Barker worked with his subjects for about a year, developing a script through interviews and in essence having his subjects "play" themselves. These four characters are so open that they willingly expose their various insecurities, neuroses, and nasty streaks, and Barker shapes their lives into a touching and thoughtful tribute to the ironic difficulties of meeting someone in one of the most dense city populations on the planet. Smartly assembled, the final results don't even reflect the usually modest qualities of documentaries, as Barker's film looks and flows like a real feature, with the added emotional weight of verisimilitude.