Fantasy and drama meet in “Ava’s Impossible Things”

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Lovers of Marina Rice Bader films: she’s back. Her latest is the fantasy drama Ava’s Impossible Things–yet another female-centric tour de force. And yes, there is, of course, a sexy lesbian romance to look forward to in this one as well.

Speaking of which, that’s exactly how this film opens. A blonde we haven’t yet been introduced to is dreaming about making love to a mysterious brunette. That cute blonde would be Ava (Chloe Farnworth), who’s finally taking a minute for herself after doting on her mom, Faye (Susan Duerden), all day. You see, Faye has Huntington’s disease. And as if that weren’t enough, she’s also passed it on to Ava.

Faye Ava Bed_

It’s gotten really bad. Faye’s now suffering from dementia and is at times physically aggressive, as evidenced by bruises on Ava’s wrists. She does have a home care nurse, Leslie (Jesselynn Desmond), but when she forgets who she is, it’s only Ava she relies on for support. The disease has even brought her to the point of not being able to remember her eldest daughter, Anna (Abigail Titmuss).

Anna discovers this during a visit home. She clearly feels guilty about not being over more but, unlike Ava, she has always been determined not to let their mother’s disease hold her back from living her life. For her part, Ava just wishes she’d stop by more often to help.

To Anna’s ire, the visitor Faye does recall that day is Jessa (Lauryn Nicole Hamilton), who looks a lot like that brunette in Ava’s dream. It turns out Jessa was Ava’s high school best friend and that she left town a few years back. They had both dreamed of getting out of there, so Ava doesn’t blame her. Faye’s disease was an unexpected road block. Equally as unexpected? Jessa’s baby bump. Relax–she used a sperm donor and is planning to raise this baby on her own.

Ava on Books crop

Maybe she won’t have to do it on her own, though. Judging by the way Ava and Jessa look at each other and that extra long first hug, their story is far from over.

Promising to visit Faye again since she’ll be in town for a few days, Jessa leaves the women of the family to it. Alone with her daughters now, Faye drops the bombshell: she wants to end her life. Anna’s shocked, as this is the first she’s heard of the idea. But Ava, though devastated, has known about her mom’s intentions for a while.

Both daughters tell their mother “no,” but then take it to the kitchen to figure it out together. Well, really to yell at each other. Surprisingly, Anna is quickly able to be at peace with her mom’s decision. I guess hearing about all the pain she’s in and her poor quality of life did it for her. It’s actually Ava, whose life is now centered around her mother, who can’t let go.

That’s the literal truth as well. Going to her mother for comfort, Ava falls asleep in her arms. It’s then that things really get interesting.

Ava, Lumi & Stages_

What fantasy world is this? From the looks of things, someone clearly has a penchant for old-timey circus performers. In this new reality, Ava is still Ava, but Anna is Freya, Leslie is Lumi and Jessa is Emma. As to be expected, Freya is a cold one. By contrast, Emma is overly touchy. But being Ava’s soon-to-be baby mama has earned her that privilege, don’t you think?

That’s right–in this world, Ava and Emma are a couple and expecting a baby together. And while Ava’s internally freaking out about this, Emma’s more concerned with getting her ready to see “Claire.”

If you guessed that Faye is Claire, you’re spot on. What’s more, in this world she looks absolutely healthy and happy. Everything’s too perfect, and when Ava’s eyes land on one individual, in particular, she realizes why. Sweet P (Marc Hawes) was a character she made up as a kid, and yet he’s here—”here” being a world that looks a lot like the one her imagination created many years ago.

When this all hits her, Ava tries to wake herself up. She runs, but always ends up in that same dressing room. Unsurprisingly, Sweet P tells her she can’t leave until she does what she came there to do.

So it goes that in this reality Faye/Claire wants to leave as well, although for reasons that are not spelled out. And just like in the real world, that decision devastates Ava. But the real world doesn’t have Depression, Denial, Anger, Bargaining and Acceptance as actual characters giving their input (because of course they would), so there’s that to further confuse Ava.

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Naturally, Ava tries to convince Claire to stay, but she just wants her to talk to Freya. Stubborn as ever, Ava insists she doesn’t know what she has to apologize for. It’s therefore not at all shocking that her first two tries at reconciling go nowhere. At least she has Emma for comfort.

By that I mean finally, we have a lengthy sex scene. It’s quite the sight, even if it is a dream within a dream. Yeah, this stuff gets confusing.

Speaking of confused, will Ava be able to gather her thoughts enough to offer Freya a sincere apology? Will she be able to let Claire go? And if she does do all this, will she actually make it back to the real world?

What of the real world? Will she make up with Anna? Will they both accept their mom’s heartbreaking decision? And what, if any, future do Ava and Jessa have ahead of them together?

For all these answers and more, watch the movie!

Ava’s Impossible Things premieres at Outfest in Los Angeles on July 16. The movie will be available to rent on Vimeo on July 17.

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