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The Independent Critic

Mindy Cohn, Marcus Patrick, Jesse Archer, Samuel Whitten, Adrian Armas
Casper Andreas
Jesse Archer
100 Mins.
Embrem Entertainment

 "Violet Tendencies" Review 
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Where is Mrs. Garrett when you need her?

Violet Tendencies was the opening night selection for the 2010 Indianapolis LGBT Film Festival, the festival's 10th year, and it reunites director Casper Andreas with writer Jesse Archer in a film that starts none other than former Facts of Lifer (She was Natalie) Mindy Cohn.

Cohn is Violet, a 40-year-old fag hag who has reached that age where either accepts being alone for eternity or decides to implement a major life shake-up in order to avoid spending eternity in single hell.

One friend, Riley (Samuel Whitten), tells her to seek out a male version of herself, essential a fag stag. Another friend, Salome (Kim Allen) advises her that she's going to have to let go of her stable of gay boys, including Markus (Casper Andreas) and Zeus (Marcus Patrick)  if she wants to get a man of her own. When she returns home one night after yet another disastrous date to find that her roommate, Luke (Jesse Archer), has organized a gay sex party in HER bedroom, she decides that Salome may very well be right and sets out to change her flamboyant ways.

Watching Mindy Cohn here makes you wonder where she's been all these years after Facts of Life. While she's not likely to take home an Oscar award anytime soon, Cohn is vibrant and funny and sensitive as the searching Violet and, admittedly much to my surprise, she's perfectly cast.

Violet Tendencies isn't high-brow comedy, but its lightly comical approach to life and love is the perfect vehicle for Cohn despite the film's overall inconsistent tone. Is this nothing more than a gay sex farce? Is it a semi-legit romantic comedy? Is it supposed to be dramedy? While there are moments of fantastic humor and humanity contained within, too often it seems like Andreas and Archer can't quite decide which direction to take the film and, as a result, the film frequently feels uneven and leaves you a bit off-kilter.

While the tone may feel inconsistent, the performances remain remarkably steady. With Cohn's heartfelt and winning performance leading the way, Kim Allen shines as a bitchy co-worker while Samuel Whitten and Casper Andreas share a delightful chemistry as a couple deciding on whether or not to have a child. While he's decidedly more drab, Armand Anthony provides a perfect contrast as Cohn's potential boyfriend.

Andreas' direction, while not always navigating the balance between sex jokes and sensitivity, is nicely paced and it's clear that he and screenwriter and castmate Jesse Archer are able to work with each other's vibe. While one can argue that perhaps the script over-extends at times, this feels like an intentional choice and it often pays off quite wondrously. Even when you disagree with an artistic choice, and you may not, its hard to argue with Andreas's confident and creative direction and Archer's ear for dialogue.

Violet Tendencies is currently on the film festival circuit and has literally been accepted into dozens of film festivals worldwide while also actively maintaining a limited east and west coast theatrical run. Tech credits are solid across the board, notably D.P. Timothy Naylor's vibrant camera work and Lee Clayton's imaginative and balanced production design.

For more information on Violet Tendencies, visit the film's website.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic