We start out with one woman crying over what appears to be the dead body of another, so we know right away that there will probably not be bunnies and whimsical lyrics about sunshine in this thing. As the camera pulls back from the apparent body (yep, she looks pretty dead), the image begins to get fuzzy and eventually fade to black, leaving us with lots of questions, the most important of which is “What happened? Did she eat some potato salad that had been left out too long and then go swimming immediately after?”
Well, Ed is glad you asked, because he has a story to sing and he’s about to get started. Grab a chair.
We start off again, presumably at some point in the past, with Eventual Dead Girl sleeping on a park bench. (She needs a name, we’ll call her Bree-Anne, because something about the hoodie she is wearing says she probably has two first names.) Bree-Anne doesn’t look like she’s had a very restful night, although she might have had a better time of it if she hadn’t slept with her face mashed into the seat. In any case, it’s time for Bree-Anne to get up, because sooner or later one of those horrid early-morning joggers is going to trot by and do something annoying like scream for help when they see her sitting there all unwashed.
Bree-Anne gathers her things (a blanket, and we’re done) then wanders around the park for a bit, with a small smile actually appearing as she randomly touches barren branches and stares up at the bleached-out winter sky. (Bree-Anne must really love nature, or maybe she’s just a little bit simple, not sure.) But she seems to be at least minimally happy, and you have to take your happiness where you can get it, one park bench at a time.
She even heads toward some nearby birds, as if to claim them as her new best friends or at least pet them, but they all skitter away. (Let’s face it girl, you’re not exactly looking trustworthy at the moment, what with the bench-slat marks on your face and a ratty hairdo that one would normally find in the 99-cent discount weave bucket at Trisha’s Bend and Curl.) But the shrieking birds fleeing in terror doesn’t deter Bree-Anne, and she continues her way through the park to another spot where she can look up at the not-so-pretty sky and smile some more. (We probably shouldn’t put away our notes about the “simple” diagnosis just yet.)
Then Bree-Anne suddenly holds out her hands to the sky in a wide gesture. This can be taken in a number of ways. Perhaps she is beseeching God for some shampoo. Perhaps she is calling on the clouds to coalesce into a fluffy pair of fresh panties. Or maybe this is how you’re supposed to stand when you’re done with your research on this planet and you’re ready for the scout ship to pick you up so you can start your de-briefing paperwork.)
None of these intriguing options actually happens, so we may never know the real story behind her playing statues like that. Instead, we cut to Bree-Anne and her tattered stockings traipsing down a sidewalk. She’s got her bankie draped over her in a fashionable way, so she fits right in with the urban crowd and no one asks her disruptive questions like “why do you smell like old French fries and bourbon?”.
There’s one moment when Bree-Anne stops walking again so she can stare into the sky, this time at the architecture of the buildings around her. Maybe she just likes looking at things that are really high. Or maybe she didn’t pay much attention in class that day when a lowly-paid but kindly teacher explained where the ground was located. Then Bree-Anne is back on her way to wherever it is.
Which is apparently to a gig selling magazines. Now, how she actually got hooked up with this particular merchandising opportunity in not really clear, but she has a stack of those things and she’s trying to hawk them. Sadly, none of the passersby seem all that interested. (Sweetie, maybe now would be the time to take off the smelly blanket that makes you look intimidatingly incapable of properly performing a legal retail transaction.)
A bit later, we have Bree-Anne, looking forlorn and sitting on a windowsill with the magazines that don’t nobody want. Suddenly, a young gentleman comes up to her for a chat, and he eventually buys one of the stupid magazines, and it appears that he just might be giving her a bit more than the cover price. Then the nice Samaritan runs off to help other people or find a cure for the West Nile Virus.
Next up is Bree-Anne standing in front of a flower stand and gazing at the options with barely concealed desire, but we already know that she doesn’t have any room in her budget for pretty things, especially temporary ones. But the encounter leaves Bree-Anne in a blue mood, and the next time we see her she’s clearly been crying, makeup running. She just stands and stares at the traffic for a very long time, possibly waiting for all that mascara to stop burning so she can see again.
More shots of Bree-Anne and her blanket sitting on the sidewalk outside of fancy stores filled with things that she can’t afford, doing so for long periods of time while absolutely no one else stops to help her. This brings more tears, but it also apparently brings a decision.
Cut to Bree-Anne some place at least semi-private where she can adjust her bra in a flattering manner and do something about the wayward makeup, reapplying and fixing her hair. Then she’s out on a darkened street, wobbling in high heels while a lone car pulls up beside her. (I don’t think we have to spell out what she’s doing here, do we? She’s not about to invite this stranger to a bake sale at St. Mary-Catherine’s.) We get to study her anguished face before she takes a deep breath and leans into the open car window, and then eventually opens the door, post-negotiation.
Zip over to a classy hotel, where Bree-Anne and Mr. Trick make their way to a room and then make their way to a bed after some money has been deftly relocated. A short time later, the man is asleep (I may be mistaken, but he either has cucumber slices on his eyes or he has severe cataracts) and Bree-Anne is quietly crying again. Not good. Maybe that’s why Bree-Anne is always looking up at the sky, so she can’t see what’s happening to her down here.
Then we get darker as Bree-Anne uses her limited cash to buy drugs. Once this is accomplished, she heads over to an apartment (I’m assuming it’s not hers, unless she really does have two personalities to go with her two names) and unlocks the door. Once inside, Bree-Anne preps her drug materials with increasing desperation, and since we basically know where this is going, the whole sequence gives off a chill. Then she simply lays back on the floor and we’re done.
Final shot is a huge image of Bree-Anne looking down from the sky, studying something. And then she looks directly at us and smiles.
I think I wet myself a little bit on that last part. Probably not what the director intended, but it was creepy and made me feel like I’ve been watching a videotape that I shouldn’t have, and seven days from now I’m going to wake up on a park bench sporting an unflattering hairstyle, with Naomi Watts and Sarah Michelle Gellar on either side of me, looking worried about something and warning me not to sell magazines that day…