Director Natalia Leite brings an emotional intelligence and sensitivity to “Bare” that raises it above its smutty late-night cable premise of a small-town girl falling into a lesbian affair and exploring the world of stripping.
Dianna Agron stars as the lost, dreamy Sarah, stuck in a rut in small town Willowpea, Nev. Her life of dead-end jobs and drinking with the boys is shaken loose by the arrival of Pepper (Paz de la Huerta), a shady drifter and grifter with all the charms of a feral cat. Sarah is inexplicably drawn to Pepper, perhaps because her offbeat, devil-may-care kookiness is so outside of the highly prescribed behavior expected of Sarah. As she falls in with Pepper, she dips a toe into the waters of stripping at a local joint where Pepper deals drugs to the dancers. Sarah yearns for freedom from her invisible prisons, enforced with whispers and gossip.
Leite directs the film with a distinctly feminine sensibility — the dancing is all about Sarah’s experience, and the languid, meandering sexuality between Pepper and Sarah is so hazily intoxicating, you’ll root for the girl-next-door to run away with the drug dealer.
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Playing: Arena Screen