Dada or Dumb?: An Evening with Beverly Luff Lin

I have no idea what to make of An Evening with Beverly Luff Lin.

Maybe it’s because I just watched Burn Before Reading immediately before going into this weird-ass surreal film. The Cohen Brothers have (for the most part) done an excellent job taking tropes and formulaic film plots and transforming them into something … different. By accentuating the absurd in situations, their films are usually powerful explorations of relationships and our lives.

I want to take An Evening with Beverly Luff Lin and apply that same analysis. It is an absurd movie, with absurd characters reacting absurdly throughout. This kind of surrealism last came to the fore in the early 20th century with the Dada movement.

[T]he Dada movement consisted of artists who rejected the logic, reason, and aestheticism of modern capitalist society, instead expressing nonsense, irrationality, and anti-bourgeois protest in their works. The art of the movement spanned visual, literary, and sound media, including collage, sound poetry, cut-up writing, and sculpture.

But much like the Dadaists, An Evening with Beverly Luff Lin‘s absurdity strips away the stock assumptions about relationships, love, and expression, leaving one at the end with a sense of the real pathos between Lulu, Colin, and Beverly. The absolute nonsense is structured in the exact same way as a Guy Ritchie or Cohen Brothers film, but the inanity of Beverly…. deconstructs that framework even as it fulfills it, leaving behind only the character’s desire to love and be loved while coping with a world that no longer makes sense.

Or… it’s a dumb as hell movie that relies on incongruity and fart jokes to be “funny”.

You’ll have to decide.

An Evening with Beverly Luff Lin is streamable on Netflix, or can be rent or bought from other services.

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