Softness of Bodies is a dark comedy and is the feature film debut of director Jordan Blady. The film follows Charlotte (Dasha Nekrasova) a struggling American poet living in Berlin who has a habit of stealing. She is given a golden opportunity to get her work noticed, but at the same time, she is dealing with a complicated relationship, her ex-boyfriend retuning, and a rival poet. Certain events transpire and we watch her try to overcome her self-made woes.
I’d like to thank Rock Salt Releasing for getting in touch with me asking to review this film and for also giving me the opportunity to interview Jordan Blady which I will hopefully be posting on this website soon.
With that being said, Softness of Bodies is not the kind of film that goes straight to the point. From its mood to the subject that it wants to comment on, this is a film that has been heavily influenced by arthouse cinema. With that being said, films like Softness of Bodies are not the typical sit-down and relax sort of ordeal, the audience needs to be more open-minded and willing to absorb information not just from the actors, but everything else. Thankfully, Softness of Bodies is very good at expelling information onto its audience and because of this, Jordan Blady has created a film that flirts with an untamable narrative and a more untamable, compelling lead character.
Softness of Bodies bets all its earnings onto its main character for the hopes of keeping our attention and the payout is huge down to two key reasons. The first an enticing performance from Dasha Nekrasova. Charlotte takes on a lot of different character archetypes from an entitled rebel to femme fetale which feels like a tall order, but her consistency in her performances makes this character a more complete package. Secondly, and this is an extension of the last point I made; her situation is complex. You have all these different situations that she has brought on herself that she’s trying to conquer, every step she takes towards conquering her troubles has the sensation of a major turning point in the story. By doing this, the film keeps its audience on its toes.
Softness of Bodies is heavily influenced by the art world, this much will become clear with the amount of poetry featured in the film which I believe were originals written for the film. As well as giving us an insight into artists, the film dives deeper into the emotional toll creativity has on young artists. When you listen to Charlotte’s poetry or observe Oliver’s (Morgan Krantz) photography, they take pride in their own self-adulation and when something affects that, they become emotionally unstable. As the narcissism becomes clearer, so does who these characters really are.
The presentation of the film itself is interesting to reflect on. The frames incorporate a soft, tungsten feel which goes hand in hand with its contemporary setting. Berlin is captured beautifully which is already quite bohemian to begin with.
As I previously mentioned, every character has a least some sort of interaction with each other that you can piece together to form individual relationships, however, for some characters, a little is not enough. I would have very much loved to have seen more time devoted to the poetic rivalry of Charlotte and Sylvie (Nadine Dubois). I look back at films like Black Swan and The Prestige and observe how well a rivalry in the same field did wonders for both story and character. Softness of Bodies is one of those films that would have benefited from this massively because the characters initial interactions with one another are already strong, from the delivery of dialogue you can get a taste of the intensity with the potential for the same intensity to reach boiling point in later scenes.
Softness of Bodies is a slow film, but more than that, it is quite monotone. You feel like things aren’t as explosive as they should have been, you get the sensation of a major turn, but you don’t feel the aftershock and it feels like the story is just carrying on as normal, or at least they last for a short time. The singular tone doesn’t complement the twists and turns very well which is a pity because this nitty-gritty of the story is quite compelling.
One final point about Softness of Bodies is that it has confidence. It knows what it wants to explore and explores it with vigorous dignity. Dasha Nekrasova’s performance, the twisting perceptions of the characters and the presentation are all elements that not only fit a large purpose, but they also do so with beauty. The one thing I was desperately wishing for was energy. With a character who is dealing with so many issues all at once, you need a bit of adrenaline, even if it’s the tiniest amount. With that being said, I can certainly appreciate Jordan Blady’s feature film debut and with some more fine-tuning, his works can extend into poetry in motion.
Final Result: 6/10 – Above Average
Softness of Bodies is available on digital release at Amazon, InDemand and more.