Review: The low-key musical ‘Becks’ is messy but authentic and compelling
Though the low-key musical “Becks” packs a lot into its first four minutes — including a cross-country move, a breakup and a drive halfway back across the States — it spends the rest of its time leisurely exploring the titular character’s return to her hometown of St. Louis. It’s all set to an appealing soundtrack of gentle folksy pop, sung by Tony winner Lena Hall, who also stars.
Homecoming is a standard indie trope, but “Becks” remixes the formula with engaging results. After she ends things with her girlfriend (Hayley Kiyoko) after driving to L.A., Becks (Hall) is stuck in the middle between a life she left behind in New York and what she thought she’d have in California.
She moves back in with her conservative mother (Christine Lahti) who claims to be OK with her lesbian daughter, while Becks tries to figure out what’s next. Relationships threaten to tether her to the Missouri city, as she reconnects with her old friend Dave (Dan Fogler), and she teaches guitar to pretty student Elyse (Mena Suvari).
Sexy and sexually frank, “Becks” works thanks to the musical talent and offbeat charms of its lead. Hall feels authentic at each moment, whether she’s strumming a guitar in a dive bar, fighting with her mother or falling in love.
Like its heroine, “Becks” is unsure and all over the place, lacking a central focus. But like Becks herself, its messiness ultimately draws us in and keeps us watching.
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Music Hall, Beverly Hills
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