Merry Christmas, film lovers. Netflix has given you the gift of streaming this year’s best Christmas movie in December. Occurring over the course of one Christmas Eve, Tangerine doesn’t just occur on Christmas, but embodies the spirit of our spiritual families and how we look out after each other, even if we do some crazy shit.
Sin-Dee (Kitana Kiki Rodriguez) just spent 28 days in jail. Within minutes of getting off the bus, she discovers that her pimp/fiancé cheated on her with a cis-gendered woman, and bam…she’s off seeking her own brand of vengeance. Meanwhile, her friend Alexandra (Mya Taylor) is trying to put on a show at Hamburger Mary’s.
Though met with acclaim at Sundance, Tangerine is hardly the usual Sundance feature. Filming with an iPhone, Sean Baker keeps the action constantly moving, making Tangerine simultaneously spontaneous and intimate. Kitana provides the firecracker propulsion that drives the movie, while Taylor’s cynical weariness provides the movie’s ground. Together, they create a yin and yang duality that magnetizes the screen.
Now that we’re at the end of the year, Tangerine is starting to appear on film critics’ year end top 10 lists, and deservedly so. Sean Baker and The Duplass Brothers, who produced the film, are launching awards campaigns for Rodriguez and Taylor. At the Spirit Awards, Tangerine was nominated for a whole slew of awards, including female lead, supporting female, director, and feature (I’m kind of surprised cinematography wasn’t hanging around).
If you’re looking for a new holiday classic, now’s your chance to try one out.