Life goes from bad to worse in Nicola Peltz’s messy directorial debut, “Lola.”
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“Lola” Plot Summary
“Lola” starts in the dirt and only digs us further down in Nicola Peltz’s frustrating directorial debut. The 80-minute drama is colored with a hazy warmth, as if the sun is always setting on its characters. But “Lola’s” script takes such huge melodramatic swings without painting a full picture of its characters that the whole movie feels like an afterschool special.
“Lola” starts with an apathetic narration from Lola (Nicola Peltz). Director Peltz immediately establishes Lola’s daily life: talking with her friend Babina (Raven Goodwin) at a minimum wage job, snorting coke with her boyfriend/drug dealer Malachi (Richie Merritt), and a night job of stripping. Lola’s life is one of struggle with little light, but one goal she has is to give her sibling Arlo (Luke David Blumm) an escape from their alcoholic and abusive mom (Virginia Madsen). “Lola” takes its time to build this empire of troubles for Lola, but we barely learn anything about the protagonist herself.
Tensions between Lola and her mom rise, often leading to Lola staying with her friend. But within the next hour, Lola’s situation worsens, sometimes to a baffling and frustrating effect. Think of the worst things that could happen, and they do. While the movie is eager to establish that these struggles and traumas happen to people every day, it also feels like trauma porn. The melodramatic story beats have little build-up, and the characters have little agency. By the end, we know just as much about who Lola is and what she wants as we did at the start: nothing.
“Lola” is not rated but includes cursing, discussions of sex, stripping, drug use, sexual assault, and death.
Other Noteworthy Information
- Nicola Pelt Beckham wrote, directed, and starred in “Lola.”
“Lola” General Information
|February 9, 2024
|How To Watch
|Video On Demand
|1 Hour, 23 Minutes
|Noted Characters and Cast
|Luke David Blumm
Please Note: This character guide is not an exhaustive list of every cast member, and character descriptions may contain what can be considered spoilers.
Lola (Nicola Peltz)
Lola is a young woman who’s only had herself to depend on in life. She has to make her own money through any means and seems lost about what future she wants for herself. While Lola has her guard up around most people, she often has her sibling Arlo as her top priority.
- The actor is also known for their role in “Bates Motel.”
Arlo (Luke David Blumm)
Arlo is Lola’s younger sibling, who was born male but enjoys long hair and wearing girls’ clothes. Arlo is sensitive and playful, wishing to express themselves however they please. While Arlo’s sister is supportive, their mother is not.
- The actor is also known for their role in “The Watcher.”
Malachi (Richie Merritt)
Malachi is Lola’s boyfriend and drug dealer. Malachi is supportive of Lola and her sibling, but sometimes too horny for his own good.
- The actor is also known for their role in “Euphoria.”
Mona (Virginia Madsen)
Mona is Lola’s mom, but she is never a protector or loving figure in Lola’s life. More concerned about her strict Christianity and glass of wine, Mona puts her demands and wants above her children’s needs.
- The actor is also known for their role in “Sideways.”
Our Rating: Negative (Acquired Taste)
Let us know your thoughts in the comments:
- What did you think of “Lola?”
Who is Lola in “Lola”?
What we see about Lola in “Lola” is a woman who clearly wants to escape her traumatic life. Surviving is enough. But Lola’s life plays out like a punching bag of misery, with little insight into who its title character is. What makes Lola happy? What will she do when she leaves? Does she want to be a caretaker and a mother, and why? No dialogue or narration reveals much about Lola as a person, so her agency and humanhood are all reduced.
Melodrama for Melodrama’s Sake
Things start shitty and get shitter for 90% of “Lola’s” running time. Narrative dramas thrive on conflict and struggle, but the multiple conflicts at the heart of “Lola” are a mess of stereotypes. While these events definitely happen to people, “Lola” rings hollow to anyone’s actual lived experience and becomes borderline offensive when looking up the director/writer’s privileged upbringing. The movie feels like it tried to throw any tragedy at Lola instead of exploring and reflecting on just one. By the end, viewers will feel numb.
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