'Makeup' - portrait of an oddball friendship with a drag twist

  • by David-Elijah Nahmod
  • Tuesday April 2, 2024
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Will Masheter in 'Makeup'
Will Masheter in 'Makeup'

"Makeup" is a buddy film for the 21st century. A tale of an unlikely friendship between two very different people, one of whom has a secret, "Makeup" is a film which raises a number of interesting questions about gender roles, and about living one's life as a gender nonconforming person.

Shot in London on a shoestring budget, "Makeup" stars Hugo Andre and Will Masheter as Sacha and Dan, who meet when Sacha rents a room in Dan's house. Andre and Masheter cowrote the film's screenplay, with Andre also serving as director.

The film is now streaming at Vudu, Amazon Prime, Tubi and Apple TV, and is also available on a barebones DVD which features no bonus materials of any kind. Interviews with the leads would have been nice. Note: do not confuse this film with another film called "Makeup" which was released in 2019. Andre's film is brand new.

The relationship between Sacha and Dan is a complicated one. Sacha is an ex-chef turned food critic, while Dan is an alpha male who works as a stockbroker. But Dan has a secret. At work he sits in a restroom cubicle and reads a women's fashion magazine. Dan likes to wear women's clothes.

Furthermore, he wants to perform as a female burlesque dancer, though he appears to not be gay.

Sacha is painfully shy. Dan is seen on a date with a woman and he has an ex-wife, while Sacha appears to be asexual. When Sacha first sees Dan wearing a wig and makeup, he is shocked and uncomfortable.

After Dan is seen by two co-workers performing at a club in drag, he's fired from his job. Rather than look for new employment, he continues dressing up with plans to perform again, and is even seen taking a private dance lesson.

Sacha, meanwhile, though remaining subdued, is beginning to feel a bond with Dan. When some of Sacha's friends make fun of Dan after seeing him in drag, Sacha has a sudden burst of self confidence and demands that his friends leave the house. Shortly thereafter Dan puts a wig and makeup on Sacha, who appears to enjoy this.

"Makeup" is a slow, quiet film which puts its lead characters under a microscope and allows them to be fully developed. Both are fascinating people. Dan is trying to live two very different lives—in drag he calls himself Danielle. He's an ambiguous person. Whether he's a drag queen or a trans person is never made clear. That question is left up to you, the viewer, to decide.

Sacha is a somewhat sad figure. He was forced out of his job as a chef due to a neurological problem in his hand which has made the work dangerous. He appears to be a lonely guy, and it seems that the burgeoning friendship with Dan/Danielle is alleviating his loneliness.

With their screenplay Andre and Masheter pose a few interesting questions: what makes a man and what constitutes friendship. The friendship between Sacha and Dan is an odd one because the two couldn't be less alike. Yet both of them, sorely in need of support, slowly become a source of support for each other. They are the ultimate odd couple, illustrating how close a bond can be forged under the most unexpected circumstances.

"Makeup" is definitely worth a look.

'Makeup,' now streaming at Vudu, Amazon Prime, Tubi and Apple TV. Also on DVD.

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