When a film starts with someone being chased by a blood-smothered headless chicken, you can tell it is going to be a little different.
Written and directed by first-time film-maker Josephine Decker, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely introduces us to Sarah (Sophie Traub) and Jeremiah (Robert Longstreet) who on their Kentucky farm hire an extra pair of hands over summer, Akin (Joe Swanberg)
As Akin and Sarah are similarly aged, they eventually draw nearer on the secluded farm and soon fall for each other. Quiet and rigid, Akin almost stalks Sarah, who notices and likes the attention (farm girls do not usually see many boys). Slow, like the films overall feel, they attract lustfully, then sexually, but haunting deprivation lurks nearby.
Decker’s direction, (much like Terence Mallick’s), is unique. Thou Wast Mild and Lovely is very much a mood piece, but unfortunately doesn’t manage to establish what it actually is. Is it a romance? Is it a horror? And why does it mix between the two so weakly and unexpectedly?
Originating on Kickstarter, the film has low-budget written all over it – what with the blurry handheld camera work and strange shots, it has minimal substance mixed with minimal style, leaving it unbalanced and messy.
Erotic? Yes. Bizarre? Yes. Any good? Not so –Thou Wast Mild and Lovely is ambitious, yet unbalanced and misses its potential. Fortunately, it is just over an hour long.