Fantasia Film Review: Fashionista

Fashionista

April (Amanda Fuller) and Eric (Ethan Embry) run a vintage clothing store. April is obsessed with the world of fashion, carefully planning her outfits and getting a natural high whenever she finds something she likes. They want to become a franchise so Eric is taking long trips and late night meetings. April soon starts becoming suspicious that he’s seeing someone else. Perhaps even that young skinny girl that just got hired.

However, even April is seeing someone else on the side. Randall (Eric Balfour) is the mystery man that appears to be successful, suave and sophisticated. Except he’s into some really sadistic stuff. On the other hand, she also meets Hank (Devin Bonnée) a homeless musician who might be the only kind soul she’s met.

As April discovers Eric’s affair and Randall goes from mysterious to dangerous, fashion becomes the only thing she can rely on. The problem is that April’s life and her perception of reality are starting to spin out of control. At the same time, we are shown scenes of a young woman (Alex Essoe) at a mental health institution, as she seems to check out and leave.

Director and writer Simon Rumley inspiration, as mentioned in the end credits, is Nicholas Roeg’s filmography. That has resulted in a psychological thriller of sorts where April’s grasp on reality and her addiction to fashion make the film a composite of both fact and hallucination. It’s dark, it’s mental and it’s worth seeing. This is another film which might merit a spoiler analysis from me in the future.

Highly recommended for fans of alternative film and film in general. It’s not quite Fantasia’s WTF category, but it is inventive and visually creative. I am actually conflicted if this is psychological horror or thriller, but it’s certainly haunting. That being said, audiences that like to keep their feet on the ground might want to skip this one. There’s almost a loss of identity and lack of explanations that will lose some of the viewers. If this is a film you want to get lost in, at least you’ll know what’s the perfect outfit to wear.

That will do for now.

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