Th abysmal lesbian romance Treading Water (2001) is another one of those earnest amateur piffles that gain praise at Gay & Lesbian Film Festivals especially if the director shows up for some back-pats & high-fivin' moments, but which comes off as an autobiographical fiction by someone who never had anything interesting happen in their lives such as might justify making the rest of us watch.
The main message is "families are dysfunctional" but beyond that there's not much of a story & even the message gets lost in the greater reality of "these people can't act." Well, Annette Miller as the mother can act, but she's way too horrible a person to save this turkey.
Casey & Alex (Angie Redman & Nina Landey) live on a grounded boat & Casey is a longshore worker. Treading Water tries to include some near-m aturity here & there amidst all the whining, with some softcore scenes inserted at awkward intervals. The actors playing Casey & Alex seem awfully uncomfortable doing nudity at all, let alone with each other.
Alex seems to have no relatives in town & has made the gosh awful choice of living in screaming distance of Casey's family. Casey loves her messed up family a whole lot, though nothing about them is loveable, & she seems almost eager to sacrifice her partner's wellbeing in order to cater to her mother's emotional landscape of nutty cruelty.
Since mom refuses to let Alex anywhere near the house, Casey goes to holiday events leaving Casey out, making Casey one of the most spaz partners anyone gay or straight could ever have. And she's not charming enough or intelligent enough to be easily forgiven for being such a crappy-ass lover.
Alex knows Casey is loonytunes when it comes to her family so she manages not to mention that in her capacity as a drug counsellor, one of the clients the court has appointed to her is Casey's baby brother, who has always been the black sheep of the family, at least up until the time Casey revealed she was a dyke.
Mom the totally creepy bitch with no saving grace is the sort of person who can say no one loves their children more than she loves hers, as she sabotages their lives then blames them for not making her happier.
Dad (Richard Snee) might have been a more understanding sod if he weren't a spineless worm (perhaps that's where Casey got her lack of gumption). He never talks about anything real with anyone but only tells bad jokes to keep from coping with life.
We learn there were originally three rather than two brothers, but one of them, Derek, drowned five years earlier, & in between vicious behavior against Casey for being queer, mom & the family have never really dealt with this shared loss.
Nothing is ever really worked out between Alex & Casey, it's almost all about Casey's disruptive family who'll certainly never change. Casey does go home to the boat now & then for sex. Which if you ask me, won't be enough to keep those two together much longer.
If any of that sounds like it could be interesting, then go for it, as it's at least better than some afternoon soap opera.
copyright © by Paghat the Ratgirl