Hope Larson’s Bitter Orange is a precious short set in 1920s Hollywood. For the most part, I mean precious as a compliment. The production design is fantastic, something Larson showcases in the first scene. The way the film deals with nostalgia is interesting too–it’s present, but maybe the viewer shouldn’t pay too much attention to it.
The story involves the lead, Brie Larson, needing gin for a work party (during Prohibition). She engages an incompetent, but lovable, underworld type (Brendan Hines) to help her.
Larson’s performance is fine–got a couple Larsons to keep straight here (no relation)–but Hines sort of walks off with the picture. Writer-director Larson doesn’t give actor Larson as much to do because the plot hinges on her being mysterious.
James Urbaniak has a nice little cameo.
Good direction, good photography, divine editing from Spencer Houck… Bitter Orange is a fine little film.
Written and directed by Hope Larson; director of photography, Tarin Anderson; edited by Spencer Houck; music by James Bladon; production designer, Lauren Malizia; produced by John Swartz and Shay Weiner.
Starring Brie Larson (Myrtle), Brendan Hines (Jack) and James Urbaniak (Sweetie).