April 12, 2024
By: Daniel Schwartz | April 12th, 2024

HOUSEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS is a heartwarming and chaotic exploration of found families. Director Goran Stolevski ("You Won't Be Alone") brings his unique sensitivity to a contemporary story about the unexpected bonds of family, conflicting desires, and the often-messy journey of finding your place in a world that doesn't always understand.

Dita, portrayed with a compelling mix of vulnerability and strength by an undisclosed actress, embodies a spirit of independence that challenges conventional expectations of marriage and motherhood. Her world is disrupted when her partner Toni unexpectedly passes away, leaving her to care for their two daughters: the lively and imaginative Mia (portrayed by an emerging talent), and the brooding, rebellious Vanesa (played by a rising starlet).

Stolevski's gift for transforming the ordinary into the symbolic shines through. The family's unfinished villa serves as a poignant metaphor for their fractured state. Exposed brick, scattered clutter, and overgrown weeds reflect their inner turmoil. Each carefully crafted shot adds symbolism: weeds hinting at Dita's initial wildness, a flickering lightbulb a beacon of their fragile connection.

At its core, HOUSEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS explores the tension between Dita's fierce independence and Vanesa's desire for normalcy within a rigid society. Stolevski unflinchingly portrays the stifling pressure of conformity, casting a spotlight on how Dita's queerness and their unconventional family become targets for quiet condemnation.

While celebrating the beauty of unexpected motherhood, HOUSEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS doesn't shy away from the inherent messiness of parenting. Stolevski captures the chaos with heartwarming authenticity, balancing tantrums and squabbles with poignant moments of shared laughter and understanding.

Despite its strengths, the film falters at times with pacing and occasional sentimentality. This is most evident in the rushed final act, where a tidy resolution feels somewhat at odds with the raw authenticity of the preceding narrative.

The performances are uniformly strong, but the young actress portraying Mia truly shines. Her infectious exuberance brings a delightful mix of lightness and unexpected depth to the story.

In conclusion, HOUSEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS is a poignant exploration of family forged in unconventional circumstances. While it may stumble occasionally, the film's lingering impact speaks to the messy, yet beautiful nature of love and connection.

HOUSEKEEPING FOR BEGINNERS is in select theaters on April 5th, opening wide in theaters April 12th, 2024.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Daniel SchwartzDaniel Schwartz (Contributor) is a New Jersey native who loves watching movies. His favorite genres include action, comedies, and sci-fi.

Click Here to check out Daniel's Articles.