BFFS Lucy and Julie are spending a lazy summer at Lucy’s grandma’s quaint mobile home, the titular pink trailer. Sheltered from the world, inventing ludicrous reasons to avoid the cloying neighbor ringing their doorbell, both will come to realize they can’t spend the entire summer sheltered inside and will have to face the real world…eventually. Mary Neely’s film is an eye-candy comedy with witty, pitter-patter dialogue, that nonetheless touches upon weighty themes of friendship, maturity, and mental health. The result is a fun character piece with unusually excellent production design, buttressed by a sharp screenplay and performances that make paranoid absurdity relatable. It’ll make you want to whip out your Guess Who? board game or run to the store and get one!
On a family visit, writer/actors Macey Isaacs and Jenny Leiferman discovered the pink trailer, and were immediately transported. The San Bernardino retirement community’s trailer is a unusually cinematic location, and served as the original inspiration for the film. The abundance of pink (which definitely gives Janelle Monáe a good run for her money) is a wonderful visual complement to a female coming-of-age story, and the contrast between the setting and the fear, depression, and anxiety experienced by the characters is mined for comedic value.
Only an extremely talented art director could have decorated a set as well as the trailer, and paid that much attention to the smallest details. Oh, but wait…there is no art director credited on the film! The Pink Trailer team did not have to touch a thing—the floor to ceiling pink, the furniture, dolls and thick carpet were all carefully curated by the owner. When her husband passed away, she reclaimed the space and turned it into her own home, making it feel cozy and oddly comforting, which is definitely carried to the screen. Neely and her DP, Jeff Lee Cohn, took advantage of natural lighting to wonderful effect, giving the film an amazing pastel glow.
The film does not solely rely on the beauty of its location, Isaacs and Leiferman penned an extremely sharp screenplay with amazing zingers that they deliver with perfect timing. Furthermore, perhaps helped by playing the leads themselves, there is a rare sense of depth and authenticity to Lucy and Julie. Each character is fleshed out and multidimensional—even the grandma, who is only heard during a phone call, has no shortage of memorable lines, and Billy, the creepy neighbor, manages to exceed his seemingly simple caricature. The Guess Who? scenes are the standouts—an excellent mix of engaging dialogue that entertains and illuminates, while simultaneously working in pop culture references amidst psychologically revealing confessions.
As you might guess from the review so far, Pink Trailer is not just a straight-up comedy. Neely accentuates the multiple tones in Isaacs and Leiferman’s script with her filmmaking, but is careful that they serve, not clash, with its central comedic aspect. From the little hints of horror, to the serious discussion about mental health, the film puts together lots of disparate ideas but is ultimately an amazing metaphor for growing up. Lucy and Julie are the perfect illustration of a millennial stereotype, the stunted early adulthood that kids these days suffer from, still behaving like teenagers and trying to figure shit out. The trailer with its absurd decor is the perfect embodiment of the innocence and safety of childhood while the outside world, Billy included, is the representation of facing up to consequences and essentially having to adult.
Both Lucy and Julie have character traits that are extremely relatable, and if we’re honest with ourselves, reflect our own paradoxical personalities. While one has had enough of the lockdown, wants to face the world and live openly with her issues, the other one still is too terrified to even consider going outside and would rather avoid responsibilities. Despite the absurdity of the situation, the story is a tale of the struggle to make the decision to grow up, and the two characters allow us to see bits of ourselves in both, making us appreciate their situation from both a comedy standpoint but also, in something that is rare for comedy, an emotional and personal one as well.
Pink Trailer had its world premiere in Reykjavik before going home to the US and being screened at SXSW and Palm Springs ShortFest’s opening night. The three ladies at the helm are already working on different projects—director Neely is reconciling films with her first love, the theatre, by developing her first full-length film—a musical. Isaacs and Leiferman are in pre-production of a half hour comedy series.