Russell Brown’s White Camellias is what would happen if all of the characters from Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? went to art school, but not everyone graduated from art school.
Cybill Shepherd stars as Annie, a spinster artist who longs to recapture the romance of when she was younger. She has a plan where her old flame would be a guest at a fabulous dinner party she throws, and is taken with Annie and her witty, attractive, intelligent friends. The guest list is whittled down from twelve to five people (two couples and the hostess) due to a bunch of cancellations and what are left are the people who basically weren’t able to get out of going, or felt some obligation to being there.
The sangria starts flowing and all of the resentments start to come out of the guests, towards their partners and hostesses. They are resentments that have been felt for a long time, but the alcohol and painfully uncomfortable setting makes them come out vividly.
The party topics border on insufferably pretentious and the frequent interruptions of Lorca poetry (en Espanol, naturally) don’t exactly help matters any. Watching the film felt voyeuristic, like watching a relationship shatter like a piece of dinnerware dropped by accident.
Chris Burlingame is the editor of Another Rainy Saturday.