Intriguingly described as a psycho-sexual drama, Buttercup Bill is certainly a brave first feature from directors Remy Bennett and Emilie Richard-Froozan. Eschewing a linear narrative, it’s a brooding, sweaty and intimate portrait of a lifelong friendship with deeper undertones. We learn little about Pernilla (Bennett) and Patrick (Evan Louison) as individuals. Instead, the film focuses on the turbulent relationship between them.
When childhood friend Flora commits suicide, Pernilla’s life in New York is thrown into a downward spiral. This is compounded when mutual friend Patrick doesn’t show for the funeral and she crumbles under the weight of loss. After tracking Patrick down to a small town in the Deep South, the pair resume their relationship where it left off. As friendship meshes with desire they skirt around each other, stuck in a past which still seems so vivid.
Buttercup Bill is a tale of love, regret and guilt told through Pernilla and Patrick’s relationship with other people and flashbacks to their childhood. Their tempestuous bond veers between adulthood and childhood. They may be older now but they still seem stuck in the past acting out children’s fantasies in the adult world. Beautifully shot and acted, the sexual chemistry and tension drips off each shot as Buttercup Bill manages to portray latent desire and shame in a wholly believable way.
Buttercup Bill is out in cinemas on Friday.