Second Star on the Right @ Outfest

A mistake to make about gay and lesbian films is that they are different from films made about the masses. They tell stories about the everyday lives, triumphs and failures, of people. People. Second Star on the Right by Spanish director Ruth Caudeli is a perfect example of that. It tells the tale of a thirty-something whose life is a mess and she cannot seem to find her way out of it.

Being a thirty-something bisexual who still lives with her mother places Emilia (Silvia Varon) on the lowest rung among her group of friends. Clara (Tatiana Renteria – The Damned) and Renata (Ximena Rodriguez – The Belko Experiment) have things together and Angelica (Alejandra Lara – appeared in episodes of Narcos) has a great job and is getting married. Emilia is a struggling actress who teaches classes at a rather low level school. She is sleeping with a woman named Mariana (Diana Wiswell – appeared in episode of Narcos) and wants to keep it casual even though Mariana wants to be more serious.

Things go from sad to worse when Emilia is fired from her crappy job and has to take on a 9 to 5 job where Angelica works. Emilia goes from fairly happy to disillusioned. When Mariana breaks up with her it seems to be the last straw.

Tension between the friends raises to a breaking point during Angelica’s bachelorette party. Alcohol and constant teasing from her friends lead to Emilia going too far.

Honesty comes at a high premium. Even amongst friends. It is a rare commodity. No one really wants it. No one really appreciates it. No one really shows who they truly are even those who are closest to them. We all live in the shadows. Emilia would like to believe that she is a free spirit. Because she is an actress she is not tied down to a regular job. Because she keeps her relationships casual she is not tied down to one person. It gives off the allusion of freedom. But in reality she is trapped. Trapped by her lack of investment. In love and life.

Emilia’s friends are not truly her friends. They don’t even accept her sexuality. Mock the fact that she identifies as a bisexual woman. Not really true friends. Ignorant types.

Bisexuality is not often portrayed in film. When it is it is often used as something to make fun of or joked about. This is one of the rare instances where it is not a case of tokenism. Refreshing and honest. Showing how Emilia is willing to go to any length to fit into her friends’ world. How she wants that illusion of the “perfect” life. And when she gets there realizes it is not as she expected it to be. Not something which makes anyone living it happy. The only path to happiness is being true to who you really are.

Some will be unhappy with the ending of this film. Don’t expect any resolution. Like life itself, there are no easy answers here or things tied up in a nice bow at the end.