“Duck Butter,” dir. Miguel Arteta
Two women, jaded by dishonest and broken relationships, make a pact to spend 24 uninterrupted hours together, having sex on the hour. Their romantic experiment intends to create a new form of intimacy, but it doesn’t quite go as planned.
Director Miguel Arteta co-wrote a funny, emotional script with lead actress Alia Shawkat, attempting to capture an authentic relationship in “Duck Butter.” Reminiscent of Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise,” the film focuses on these personal conversations between the two women, bringing the audience along on the journey of discovering more about the characters and getting a good feel of their blossoming relationship.
Great dialogue can only go so far if the leads don’t feel like the match that is intended. Thankfully, the chemistry between Shawkat and Laia Costa is absolutely electric. The bond that they share together as they gleefully have fun through the dark hours of the night is beautifully captured and their performances are terrific. Shawkat especially has some draining moments that have an effective emotional punch.
At a brisk 93 minutes, it’s understandably difficult to cram in a developing relationship that takes place over the course of an entire day and make it feel real. The performances and writing certainly work in the films favor, but towards the second half there definitely seems like there could have been more time to flesh things out a bit.
“Duck Butter” is a deep, thoroughly enjoyable movie that shines bright thanks to the stellar pairing of Alia Shawkat and Laia Costa, even if their relationship builds up a bit too fast in the second act. It’s not a particularly groundbreaking romance, but it certainly has several moving and intimate moments that feel real.
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