“The Guest House” is a sexy but flawed story of lesbian love

The Guest House might as well be subtitled “Lesbian Air BnB Fantasy Fun Time.” A pleasantly youthful romp with two appealing leads and a script that isn’t quite up to task, it certainly borrows from ye old lesbian film cliché bank.

The film opens on goth-lite chick Rachel’s (Ruth Reynolds) awful high school boyfriend breaking up with her, with the usual lame excuse about wanting to go off and have the “full college experience.” Rachel punches him in response, the only really prudent course of action. This is the type of movie Guest House is – fueled by id, with a touch of fantasy wish fulfillment and a whole lot of cliché-baiting.

Soon after, we’re treating to a little exposition between dear old dad and Rachel – she’s a smart, sassy, rebellious young lady, ready to run off to college and a new life – and she can’t wait. Dad reveals there’s a new employee set to stay in their posh guest house — presumably while she looks for a place of her own — and the setup is complete. Soon after, sexy Amy (Madeline Merritt) comes by, and the sparks start to fly. So does the exposition, as it’s shortly revealed that Rachel just lost her mother to cancer, has money, is a talented but too-shy musician, and is a remarkably mature just-turned 18. She’s fully legal, folks.

The ladies hit it off, embarking on a series of increasingly flirty conversations, including an inexplicable “I’ll just keep the door open while I shower” chat. Eventually, after a little wine, the flirtation continues, and Rachel ends her evening with a little porn and self-love, which Amy inadvertently witnesses. Uh oh!

In the days that follow, the flirtation amps up to a fever pitch, and our ladies become more than just instant bffs.

Guest House is largely a fun piece of fluff, with attractive leads and a fun premise, but the film is far, far too chatty for its own good. The writing is spotty, with a few clunky lines, and the final third dives far into melodramatic territory.

Thankfully, our co-stars are up to task, and the overall energy of the flick is fun, at least until the drama-rama starts. There’s fantastic chemistry between Reynolds and Merritt, and the love scenes are decidedly hot.

The movie has its problems, but it’s not trying to be the next arthouse sensation. It looks and feels like a breezy ’90s lesbian film, with all of the good – and not so good -aspects of flicks from that era. Call it cinematic comfort food, or simply a throwback.

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