Starring – Alana Lake, Cleo Jacobe, Ruby Harrison, Mathilde Fallet, Oliver Hikmet, Liz Rosenfeld, Elly Clarke
Directed by Kanchi Wichmann
After watching Mixed Messages, I’m eternally and utterly grateful that I am not a single lesbian looking for love anymore. In fact, I wasn’t a single lesbian for long when I was a single lesbian and thank goodness! I was extremely lucky when it came to me being a single lesbian, because I wasn’t one for more than six months after I FINALLY realized I was gay and came out like two seconds after I figured it out because I was so happy and so excited that I finally figured out what all those confusing and painful and lonely and sad, yet wonderful and exhilarating and amazing feelings I had for women were, and why dating men was just not working out for me and not just because I mostly dated closeted gay men. And then a few months after I went through the roller coaster that was and still is discovering my sexuality, I met my wife. My life has been an unlucky one, for the most part, except when it came to finding my wife. That was just damn lucky, so now I always figure if I’m only going to have luck about one thing in this life, at least it was the one thing people spend their whole lives chasing after and obsessing about, yet few seem to actually find the real thing – LOVE.
Mixed Messages is an insightful and painfully honest web series about what it’s like being a single lesbian looking for love in our very hectic and self-centered modern world of today. And if you haven’t already guessed or know first-hand, it ain’t easy. Ren is living in present day Berlin, Germany, which seems to be as open about sexualities and gender identities as it was in the days just before Hitler took over and sent us all into concentration camps or prostitution, because the cast in this film is that diversity we keep demanding over here in America. A virtual rainbow of lesbians and bi women and trans women and polyamory women and whatever other category we have added to our list of sexuality and gender identities (I just can’t keep up anymore) are in this series, and Ren doesn’t discriminate because she is dating them all. Well, that is when she can get them to date her, because apparently lesbians have the attention span of men, because whenever Ren goes to the bathroom and tells the lady she is flirting with that she promises to be right back, that lady is on to the next lady flirting with her, so when Ren gets back from the bathroom, she’s a single lady, once again. Poor Ren.
Ren just can’t catch a break when it comes to the ladies she’s dating or trying to date. I guess dating a woman is as confusing for women as it is for guys, which I didn’t know until this series, because like I said, my luck with love has been good, because I struck gold on my very first date ever with a woman, so I never had to go through all of this dating, dating, dating of ladies to find the one that was meant for me. Thank goodness for small favors! But Ren isn’t so lucky when it comes to love with a lady, and soon into the series with one disastrous relationship after another, I started keeping an eye on ladies in the background of scenes for her to maybe date. “Hey, Ren! Look at that lady over your right shoulder. She looks pretty. Maybe she will treat you with a little dignity and respect.” Because that is the main problem with all the ladies Ren is dating, they are all so self-centered and single-minded (as in only worried about themselves) and quite frankly, rude to Ren. When breakfast in bed was promised by a lady Ren thought might be a winner, she soon found that promise was never going to be fulfilled, because when Ren gets bored for this breakfast in bed after waiting and waiting and waiting for it to arrive, Ren decides to leave the bedroom to see where this mysterious breakfast is, only to discover the lady is busy eating her own breakfast in the kitchen while chatting it up with her roommate and drinking the very last of the coffee. So, poor Ren leaves, surprised that the lady is surprised that Ren isn’t really into seeing her again after completely reneging on the promise of breakfast in bed. Boy, I’m glad I only ever dated one woman if this is what dating a bunch of women looks like. No thank you!
Ren is played by Alana Lake, who is a talent to look out for because she gives a beautifully real and honest performance, and if I was a casting director (a secret dream job of mine), I would be casting her up a storm right now because she’s got that “it” factor. She’s so good and so natural in the role as Ren that I have been spending the last day since I saw Mixed Messages worried that she is still in Berlin looking for love. Ren, are you okay? Do you need a hug? Don’t worry, we’ll get you a lady that will love you and appreciate you and actually bring you breakfast in bed when she promises to. Damn ladies! What’s wrong with you?! Ren is gorgeous and sweet and nice and a pretty decent human being. So, come on! What’s the deal, ladies??!
What Mixed Messages proved to me is that even though it is beyond beautiful and amazing that we are all coming out of our closets of denial and waving our rainbow flags high for all the world to see, dating still sucks even with all of these freedoms and declarations. People are still selfish assholes. People still will treat you poorly even as they are demanding equality. People are still just people. And love doesn’t seem to be any easier to find now even though there are so many ways to find love thanks to the Internet. But Ren isn’t a looking for love on the Internet or on her phone kind of girl. And how refreshing was that?! A woman Ren pursues at a party, decides she’s not into Ren, but instead is into another lady that she knows from Tinder who likes her, and that it’s a good idea if Ren help her nab the lady. Ren smartly says no, but she also reveals that she doesn’t really understand the drama of actually going up to someone in person that you have been talking to only on a dating app, because the lady Ren had been pursing is worried incessantly about just that. “Is that weird?” The lady asks Ren. Ren has no clue if it is weird, because she tells the now no longer potential girlfriend that she doesn’t do dating apps. Is this what we have come to in our society? We think it is weird to talk to someone in person that you have only been talking to on an app? Have we forgotten that people actually exist outside of our phones and tablets and computers? Is this why Ren can’t find a decent lady to love her or even any lady at all to love her, because I couldn’t figure out why anyone would turn down or treat a lady who is so pretty, sweet, and although awkward at flirting, still so damn cute when she does it. Are women just as bad at treating women when it comes to dating as men are? Because that is what the lesbian dating world in Mixed Messages looked like to me. As we are demanding for men to treat us better, maybe we should add women to that list of treating women better too? Or maybe humanity as a whole should just be nice to each other? Hey, it’s a dream.
So, the moral of the story is, either get yourself a very lucky premonition about when and where to meet your future wife, like normally unlucky at life me did, or do what most of the lesbian world is doing in the dating world, having a really hard time. And since my wife has just sent me an adorable text message about how much she loves me because I’ve been having a few rough days here, I pick the former. And don’t you worry, Ren. You’ll have a nice wife sending you sweet texts to cheer you up someday too. Maybe in Series 2? Because I’m voting for a Series 2. I need to see what happens to Ren.
Mixed Messages is out on DVD and VOD on December 4, 2017 from Peccadillo Pictures.