Benny & JoleneCultureCinemaMovie reviews
In this film about a boy/girl folk group, Benny and Jolene are pressured to become more commercial and “poppy” the moment they have a breakthrough on the folk scene. This gentle comedy is almost the definition of low-key as we travel to a music festival in Wales with the group, experiencing various humiliations along the way.
In her search to find meaningful lyrics, Jolene, played with a charming earnestness by Fresh Meat’s Charlotte Ritchie, wonders if friend-since-childhood Benny might be boyfriend material, or at least sexually attractive. Benny, played by Craig Roberts of Submarine, is more brooding and increasingly exasperated with the shambolic journey on the tour bus that turns out to be a caravan. He most definitely sees Jolene as more than a friend, and his frustration makes him increasingly obnoxious. Their attempt at consummation is excruciating, as is the resulting song it inspires. It’s not usually a good idea to take notes during sex.
With parents and useless managers tagging along to Wales, Benny and Jolene’s genuine friendship and musical partnership is under threat while the young couple try to please everyone. The wry humour depends upon character rather than jokes in what is clearly a low budget and often improvised comedy. It’s genuinely funny and engaging, even though there are extended scenes of the band being bored as they drive through endless soggy countryside.
Benny & Jolene is a charming “mockumentary” with some great music and smatterings of entertaining crudeness.
Benny & Jolene is released nationwide on 6th June 2014.
Watch the trailer for Benny & Jolene here: