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Review: Krystal

Here is a film that completely fails to understand the story it is telling. Krystal (Rosario Dawson) is a former stripper and recovering alcoholic who is trying to get her life back on track while dealing with an abusive ex (T.I.) and a paraplegic teenage son who gets into fights all the time. Curiously, the film is not told from her point of view and instead follows Taylor (Nick Robinson), an 18-year-old with a heart condition that stalks her by attending her AA meetings. This choice in perspective routinely minimizes the gravity of Krystal's life so that it may fit into a quirky, love-for-the-first-time narrative.

The perspective is not the only miscalculation director William H. Macy makes. He also injects broad comedic that make light of domestic abuse, substance abuse and stalking all in favor of keeping the film light on its toes. Krystal here is in a troubled situation and should not have to deal with an awkward 18-year-old admirer. Yet the film rewards Taylor's disgusting behavior and makes his plight of love the central focus. Krytal tries numerous times to get Taylor to leave her alone but his heart condition allows him to manipulate her sympathy. In other hands, this could be a fascinating tale of male privilege and how women deal with toxic men in their lives. Instead, the film normalizes the abuse, asking us to side with Taylor because Nick Robinson has charm and charm is all you need.

It is deeply concerning that Krystal got made with the tone and focus that it has. This is likely due to Macy's track record as a great actor. We do not need films like this anymore though. As the film progresses, it is clear that the screenplay has no intention of exploring the darker and more troubling aspects of this story. The film plays out like some sort of male fantasy that suggests persistence is the way into a woman's heart and everything else will just work itself out in the name of love. Taylor is not equipped at all to be any kind of strong force in Krystal's life. He is 18 with no real money and a terrible heart condition that causes his heart to beat insanely fast. The condition even causes him to hallucinate. And yet the film ignores all of this and suggests that Taylor is a perfectly suitable partner for Krystal. Dawson is so good at playing these type of female characters that the ignorance of her hardships feels even more egregious. 



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