Review: Blair Waters' Princess Rita
by: Sophie Hayssen
Princess Rita is a short film by up and coming director Blair Waters, who previously worked as an executive producer at NYLON before shifting to her highly successful freelancing career three years ago. The film tells the story of, Alan (Fedor Steer), a man stuck in a mundane existence, clinging on the hope of an extraordinary dream: that one day he will save up enough so that his online girlfriend (who he’s never met before) can join him in Florida. Despite lingering questions about whether Rita actually exists and is actually just a scam, Alan persists in his fantasy that he has found the love of his life.
A quiet melancholy rests the film’s core and, as in all great art, everything in the film feels reflective of that spirit. We see it in the contrast of bright Florida colors alongside Alan’s beige insurance adjuster uniform, and we hear it in the juxtaposition of moments of silence so profound you can hear blinds roll up with deeply intimate voiceovers of Alan professing his love to Rita. He lives an unglamorous life in a state known for its Palm trees and resorts. He is, in other words, happiness adjacent. This emotional foundation provides surprisingly fertile ground for moments of subtle humor. For instance, I never thought that I could conceive of a man sending a dick pic as an endearing act of vulnerability, but Waters proves me wrong.
In less than 10 minutes, Waters manages to pull off a sophisticated balancing act by building a character who is loveable for precisely the same reasons that he is in his current predicament—his gullibility and earnestness. As the story unfolds, Alan becomes increasingly committed to bringing Rita to him—like living off twinkies to save up his money. With every step he takes into extremity, the more Rita starts to feel like a scam but the more the viewer wants it to be real. The intensity of the film’s focus on Alan is not just befitting its themes of loneliness but also a testament to writer Mallory Rice’s ability to construct character and Fedor Steer’s performance that he is rounded enough to carry the film almost entirely on his own.
Sophie Hayssen is a freelance writer whose work has been featured in Rookie Magazine, Clover Letter, and Screen Queens. She is one semester away from graduating Wesleyan University with a double major in English and American Studies and hopes to build a career publishing or journalism. s a writer, she gravitates towards stories in the politics and entertainment realm. We are super excited to have her on board this semester to help out with digital strategy, copy writing, social media, and admin tasks.