Outfest Review: Finding Room on ‘Second Star On the Right’

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The title “Second Star On the Right” refers to a familiar quote from “Peter Pan,” about the directions to Neverland, home to the “boy who never grew up.”

Emilia is an actor who’s about to turn 35, and arguably possesses a few Peter Pan-like traits. She hasn’t totally embraced her adult responsibilities, still relying on the emotional and sometimes financial support of her longtime friends.

Directed by Ruth Caudeli, this black & white film from Columbia (‘Secunda Estrella a la Derecha,’ with English subtitles), follows Emilia and her group of friends, who other than Emilia seem to have it all together–their careers, relationships, their lives. Emilia, therefore, is often the subject of their concern, because “she’s poor,” unsettled, and unattached.

Emilia does have a lovely girlfriend, Mariana, a photographer, and the chemistry between them is undeniable. But Emilia insists that she’s bisexual, even if she does spend her nights at Mariana’s place. Her friends say she needs to be one or the other, showing about as respect for that pronouncement as for her acting career.

Emilia’s career isn’t going anywhere, and she works as an acting coach to get by. No one seems to understand or appreciate–or attend–her abstract stage performances. Her friends politely refer to her art as “conceptual.” 

After a fight with Mariana, and the theft of her bicycle, Emelia parties with a male friend, sleeps with him, and then strains her relationship with her group of girlfriends. She’s tried to appease them by taking a demeaning office job in friend Angelica’s company, but an environment of dress-codes and business protocols doesn’t work for anyone involved.

The film deals with issues of commitment, friendship, loyalty and adulthood, as well as the fact that people have different paths. No one’s life is without drama, and as the story evolves, each of Emilia’s friends come to admit that their lives are not always as perfect as their poolside pleasantries might suggest.

For more on “Second Star On the Right” and other Outfest films, go to Outfestorg.

Journalist Laurie Schenden covers the entertainment industry, with many of her notable celebrity interviews appearing in the Los Angeles Times and other national and international publications. As a longtime columnist and feature writer for the LA Times, she also covered events and California destinations for the lifestyle, Outdoors and Travel sections. Laurie Schenden's international pieces include the long-running Where Are They Now celebrity feature for Spotlight Magazine, published in five languages. Laurie has also contributed to numerous documentary films, and produces content via Saving Grace Films.

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