Are you in the mood for a lesbian movie where no one dies at the end and no one struggles with coming out? Portrait of a Serial Monogamist is a “coming of middle-age” story about lesbian relationships, friendships and the questionable decisions we make in our twenties, or our forties.
Emmy-nominated actress Diane Flacks (Kids in the Hall) plays Elsie Neufeld, a likeable screw up that spends most of her life in and out of relationships and seems to have breaking up down to a science.
The story begins when Elsie suddenly breaks up with her girlfriend (Colleen Taylor) who she has been dating for five years. Known as a serial monogamist amongst her friends, they then bet Elsie that she cannot stay single for five months straight. Naturally, her sights immediately get set on Lolli (Vag Halen singer Vanessa Dunn) and all rational decision-making goes out the window on her journey to figure it all out.
“I like an unsympathetic character that does kind of shitty things,” says Flacks. “Not even that she has a good heart, not in terms of judgement, but she has an open heart. She has kind of a yearning heart and I think we can all relate to that.”
“[Christina] had just seen High Fidelity again with John Cusack and we were saying that it’s interesting that this character, that sort of emotionally-stunted lead character who’s a bit immature and a bit of a screw up but you like them and they’re charming enough that you kind of root for them, is always a guy. It’s never a woman,” says Mitchell.
Keeping with that idea, the film plays out as a realistic nod to all of the terrible decisions we make in our early relationships. From going after the girl you know is not right for you to toeing the line between friendship and romance to even breaking up out of fear and panic, the story is likely to bring up some cringe-worthy memories.
It also speaks to the interconnection of the lesbian community. There are best friends staying close with exes, events where everyone starts whispering the moment you walk into a room, and constant run-ins with your ex-girlfriend all over town. Portrait of a Serial Monogamist also examines lesbian friendships and how your friends are always going to be there to call you out, challenge you and ultimately support and love you.
Based in Toronto, the film is also a sort of love letter to the city while it is simultaneously a reflection of Elsie herself. “Elsie is a character that’s moving forward without really knowing where she’s going, she just wants to move forward,” explains Zeidler. “Similarly, we have a city that also wants to move forward without necessarily knowing where it’s going.”
Zeidler went on to explain that, like Washington, D.C., Toronto is currently in a construction boom that you can see illustrated all throughout the film. “[It is a city] a bit out of control. You can’t have that much construction and really know what you’re making.” Similarly, we see Elsie constantly changing without a clear path of where she wants to end up.
Portrait of A Serial Monogamist uses many natives to the Toronto art and comedy scene to create a beautiful picture of relationships, tough decisions and moments of self-actualization that many of us can truly relate to.
Portrait of a Serial Monogamist will be available February 9 on iTunes, Vimeo On Demand, and WolfeOnDemand.com. The DVD will also be available through Wolfe Video and many major retailers.
Watch Trailer Below: