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Overall Rating
3.88

Awesome: 29.41%
Worth A Look52.94%
Average: 0%
Pretty Bad: 11.76%
Total Crap: 5.88%

1 review, 11 user ratings


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Dear Pillow
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by Dr Nick

"A painfully honest portrayal of teenage sexual desire"
4 stars

SCREENED AT THE EDINBURGH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2004: A stunning directorial debut from Bryan Poyser, this is a brutal and honest account of what goes on inside a teenage boyís mind and how easily they can be manipulated. Itís funny and intelligent with great performances all around.

Wes is just like any other teenage boy. Working a shitty job in a supermarket, he is somewhat disillusioned with life and has only one thing on his mind, losing his virginity; something which becomes more and more urgent as his best friend keeps sending him letters detailing his sexual encounters. Wesí neighbour Dusty is an old gay porn director, who also writes letters from women for a porn magazine, Dear Pillow. The two embark on a very close friendship and Dusty soon joins Wes in one of his favorite spare time activities, listening in to peopleís telephone conversations, using a special handheld device. A regular caller is a woman, who phones up random men and initiates phone sex with them, then hangs up just as they begin to show an interest. Wes and Dusty soon figures out that the woman is their own landlady, Lorna, and through a serious of events they end up in a situation where Dusty is going to film Wes losing his virginity to Lorna, all for the benefit of Dustyís old lover, Nick.

Sounds messed up? Well, it is a little, but so is life. This is not your usual safe teenage romance movie. Although the premise is somewhat surreal, it feels disturbingly real. Rusty Kelley certainly looks the part and turns in a very convincing performance as Wes, the disillusioned emo-teen. It makes you wonder, though. Is he really acting or is he just being himself? I guess it doesnít really matter. Whatís important is that heís perfect for the part.

Wes has a somewhat confused attitude towards sex. With a father whoís into bondage, a friend who believes that ďGod put heaven in a girlís assĒ and a gay neighbour, who is also a porn director, itís really no surprise that his first attempt at writing pornographic short story involves a soldier saving a starving Bosnian woman, by feeding her his cum.

In the end the film deals with the basic premise of sexuality, exploiting people for personal gain. Does Dusty really like Wes or is he just using him to resurrect his long-lost relationship with his gay man-turned straight ex-boyfriend? What does Lorna get out of it? Is she really interested in Wes or does she just want to put him straight and show him that just because the porno magazines tells him so, anal sex is not the preferred way for most women. Most importantly, it deals with the way pornography distort the way we look at sex, especially for people who have never experienced the real thing. For Wes, pornography leads to nothing but trouble. Itís what got him into the mess with Dusty and it jeopardises his relationship with his dad. In a scene which is guaranteed to make most men cringe, he even gets fired for reading porn in the toilet at work.

Shot on a high-end prosumer camcorder, Dear Pillow still looks great. It serves as an inspiration for young filmmakers everywhere, that if you have a great story, there is really no excuse not to do it anymore.

Itís funny, intelligent, disturbing and weird, but never loses its realistic feel. A fantastic debut from a filmmaker Iím sure we havenít heard the last from.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=8486&reviewer=345
originally posted: 08/20/04 21:07:01
[printer] printer-friendly format  
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Slamdance Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Slamdance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 San Francisco Independent Film Festival. For more in the 2005 San Francisco Independent Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

2/06/08 Lorna Thanks Ted! 5 stars
5/05/06 Ted the acting is fucking fantastic. Lorna is the best in it. 5 stars
6/06/05 Shaheed Aishariya Rai's film 4 stars
2/11/05 Joe Swanberg One of my favorite films of 2004. Great performances in this really honest and funny film. 5 stars
6/24/04 marin roo great acting, wondeful script, honest, funny 5 stars
6/22/04 Robert Nicely shot and edited, terrible script, pretentious, pointless 1 stars
4/05/04 Lyle great great great! 4 stars
3/24/04 Kevin okay acting but storyline is nonsense 2 stars
3/23/04 Judith Werner Awesome! 5 stars
3/22/04 Bingo was his name-o Awful acting, a story that never got anywhere interesting. 2 stars
3/14/04 Delia Cuellar excellent 4 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  18-Jan-2004 (NR)
  DVD: 13-Nov-2007

UK
  N/A

Australia
  N/A


Directed by
  Bryan Poyser

Written by
  Bryan Poyser

Cast
  Rusty Kelley
  Gary Chason
  Viviane Vives
  Cory Criswell
  John Erler



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