Fate, coincidence, fantasy and reality collide in writer/director Chase Mohseni’s “Starcrossed.” The title alludes to lovers but the film must also navigate the complicated baggage that comes with love.
Ben (Grant Harvey) and Cat (Mischa Barton) are two pretty young things well-kept by their older lovers Anthony (Ben Reed) and Lucy (Kristin Carey). Anthony and Lucy are married, and they just happen to show up at the bar where Cat and Ben have met, coincidentally. As the foursome retires back to Anthony and Lucy’s home for drinks, the tightly wrapped layers of lies and secrets starts to unravel.
At times, “Starcrossed” evokes shades of “Who’s Afraid of Virgina Woolf?” amid the intimate revelations and interpersonal twists. Everyone talks around the reality of the situation, except for Cat, who is direct and honest about her reality.
Barton is a standout as the alluring, broken young woman who hides as much as she reveals. Though the younger two symbolize the possibilities for connection, Reed and Carey are a bit more intriguing as the dark, manipulative older couple locked in an erotic competition with each other, exploiting their young lovers.
The desaturated and moody cinematography pairs with a score of atonal strings and light acoustic guitar to create a sedate nighttime atmosphere. Less convincing is Ben as a novelist (for one thing, he uses a vintage typewriter). The film is bookended by Ben's voiceover, musings on life and love and metamorphosis; philosophizing that would have been better served incorporated into the story itself.
Running time: 1 hour, 22 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood