“Stuff” portrays a lesbian marriage on the rocks

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You know it’s a sign of the times when you’re watching a movie centered on a struggling lesbian marriage in America. That, however, is a far too brief description of Suzanne Guacci’s Stuff. What the film really is is a reminder that, even in a partnership, we all have our own “stuff.”

The movie follows Deb (Yvonne Jung) and Trish (Karen Silas), together for 14 years and parents to two little girls. Deb is a stay-at-home mom, having given up her career so Trish could start a dental practice. Their family dynamic was working well up until five years ago, when Trish’s father passed away. Since then, Trish has focused more of her time on helping her mom adjust than she has on keeping her home life happy.

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Something’s gotta give, and that something comes in the form of tattooed beauty Jamie (Traci Dinwiddie of Elena Undone). When Deb and Jamie first meet, it’s not under the best of circumstances. Jamie’s son Joey attends the same daycare Deb and Trish’s youngest daughter Samantha goes to–and he’s thrown a rock at her. But Jamie’s determined to smooth things over, so she invites Deb and her daughters out on a play date. A friendship between the two women soon emerges.

As for Trish, she’s in her own little bubble. She’s obsessed with getting a headstone for her father, but her mother insists the insurance company still hasn’t come through with the money. Her mom’s having a hard time letting go, but Trish is just as in denial as she is.

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Back in Deb and Jamie land, the women continue to open up to each other. Jamie is a former drug addict trying to dodge Joey’s father, who is still very much a slave to his vices. And Deb, she’s in a sexless marriage with a distant wife.

Deb and Jamie are undeniably attracted to each other. A confirmed lesbian and a badass who isn’t hung up on labels – no one’s freaking out about their sexuality. This is a matter of guilt. Can Deb actually cheat on her wife, and will Jamie really drag Deb into her shit?

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And how will Trish react when her bubble bursts? Will she deflect, or take responsibility for her own shortcomings? This family is falling apart at the seams and there are no guarantees that they can keep it together.

Stuff has some hot scenes, but the drama largely overshadows them. But given the plot points, it’s needed (even welcomed) drama. If I had to nitpick at something, it would be an ending that wraps up a little too easily. Still, with a stellar cast of women and an intriguing plot, Guacci’s Stuff is a solid effort and one to watch.

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Stuff will have its world premiere at Frameline in San Francisco on June 19. Check out the movie’s Facebook page to see when it’ll be playing at your local LGBT film festival.

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