March 21, 2016 She Sings to the Stars (Movie Review)
“Why don’t people want magic anymore?” This is just one of the thought-provoking themes woven throughout She Sings to the Stars. The film was written and directed by Jennifer Corcoran and produced by Jonnie Corcoran, making it the first full-length film by the sister/brother duo. She Sings to the Stars has had an incredibly successful festival run so far, and is set to premiere at New York’s Queens World Film Festival on March 19, 2016. The film will be widely released later in 2016 via Circeo Films.
Driving through the dreadfully hot New Mexico desert at night, a magician named Lyle (Larry Cedar: The Crazies 2010, Deadwood 2004-2006) is on his way to a performance, but down to his last twenty dollars. In need of fuel, he stops at a remote gas station ran by a half Mexican/Native American man named Third (Jesus Mayorga: Odd Thomas 2013, Breaking Bad 2010). Instead of paying what is due, Lyle gets in his car and speeds off, happy to still have his twenty dollars. As he speeds on, Lyle spots a strange light in the sky and follows it, only to have his radiator overheat in front of a small house. With nothing else in sight, he asks the Native American woman who lives there, Mabel (Fannie Loretto: debut film), for help. She explains that she does not have any water, but is expecting a delivery of water from her grandson, who happens to be Third.
Upon his arrival, the two men have words, including racist banter, and Lyle is told that there is not enough water for his car. This only adds to his frustration, but the arguing is disrupted by Third getting bit by a rattlesnake. Without enough water for the car and no hospital in sight, Mabel begins Native American healing practices. Due to this series of events, the three very different characters are forced to share close quarters. Mabel spends her time tending to drought ravaged corn while Lyle is incorrigible as he wears his top hat and tails around the house and land. Third has dreams of making it to Los Angeles, and visit his grandmother to collect her handmade Native American dolls to sell. Through their time together, all three characters experience transfiguration and end up seeing the world differently than they ever expected.
Although much of She Sings to the Stars is void of dazzling effects and remains very simplistic, it conveys powerful messages of transformation, the role women play in society, respecting nature, and discovering different types of magic all around us. The scenes that take place within the small homestead could have easily felt too confined, but seasoned Cinematographer John DeFazio’s talent for capturing intimate situations really shines through. In contrast, the open shots of the desert landscape are stunning, especially when much needed rain begins to fall.
The talent spans across the entire cast and crew, especially considering that this is the first film for the director, producer, and lead actress. The decision to cast Fannie Loretto as Mabel was spot-on as she perfectly embodies the strong, and somewhat innocent, Native American woman. Loretto is very genuine and an absolute joy to watch. Jesus Mayorga and veteran actor Larry Cedar complemented each other very well, making the performances look effortless.
She Sings to the Stars is a surreal and magical experience that leaves the viewer in a meditative state after viewing. Director Jennifer Corcoran had a clear vision of what she needed to express on screen and she made it happen. CrypticRock gives She Sings to the Stars 4.5 out of 5 stars.