When 16 year old Cyd (Jessie Pinnick) manages to have yet another falling out with her father, he decides to pack her off to stay with her Aunt in Chicago for a few weeks to give everyone a break. Aunt Miranda (Rebecca Spencer) is a famous author and quite the local celebrity who lives a very comfortable life on her own, but not having seen her niece for at least 10 years, is unsure of how to behave around her. In fact both women who, on many levels are polar opposites, are awkward and uncomfortable around each other, a situation which never completely disappears even when they get to know each other a little bit.
Miranda is a straight-laced academic very set in her ways and who tells a prying Cyd that she is more than happy to have given up on the idea of having a relationship or sex. The teenager on the other hand is desperate to explore the possibility of both and during a chance visit to a local coffee bar, she exchanges glances with a tomboyish barista. When she pops back next day determined to meet her, Cyd discovers her name is Katie (Malic White), and it is very obvious that both girls are attracted to each other.
Whilst that relationship starts to kick off Cyd also finds herself at a party necking with the son of two of Miranda’s best friends, and if they hadn’t been disturbed, Cyd have even ended up losing her virginity to him. In fact his two lesbian mothers are the women that a curious Cyd has a rather clumsy conversation with about how one decides on one’s sexuality.
Whilst teenage Cyd’s journey of self discovery seems totally natural, Miranda’s envy of her seems a tad misplaced and at point slightly predatory especially as there are several clumsy hints that she too may actually have lesbian tendencies. Actually lack of clarity seems to be one of the weaknesses of writer and director Stephen Cone, that and a leaning to overload the story with too many (unnecessary) plot lines, exactly as he did in his last movie (Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party).
Both Pinnick and Spencer portray the two women’s social awkwardness well and seem genuinely flummoxed of the awakening that this visit has caused each of them. However despite the brave face and smiles, Miranda looks like she is destined to revert back to her well-ordered life once Cyd has left, and the teenager can maybe find her own way to become the princess in some way. just like the heroine in her Aunt’s book who she was named after.
It’s an intriguing coming of age story that was a tad patchy in part, but otherwise was a very interesting view.