You know how there are certain celebrities that fall off the radar and it isn’t until they reappear that you remember why you loved them in the first place? Well, ladies and biological ladies, Ally Sheedy’s back in a great little film that really took us by surprise.
Gotta say we were intrigued by the title, Steam, and even more excited when we found out many scenes take place in an actual steam room. Then our hopes were slightly dashed when we found out it was all women in said hothouse, one of whom is 84 years old! But then we were happy again when we saw that they’re all in towels. Crisis diverted.
Writer/director Kyle Schickner (Full Frontal, Strange Fruit) continues with his goal to “tell stories from the feminine, minority and queer perspective” with Steam. The three powerful female leads (Ruby Dee, Ally Sheedy and Kate Siegel), whose lives intersect at a local gym steam room, each face challenges in life-altering and self-affirming new relationships.
Dee’s widow character falls for a charming widower whose family suspects she’s a gold digger. Sheedy’s the resident cougar, falling for her son’s (hot) soccer coach (underwear model Alan Ritchson – do a Google image search, you won’t be sorry), complicating life with her child and ex-hubby. And Siegel rebels against her conservative parents by following her heart into a lesbian love affair (complete with piercings!).
The three stories are thoughtfully executed, brilliantly acted and only interwoven through the steam room connection, rather than some convoluted plot that overlaps their lives in “yeah, right” fashion. Chelsea Handler provides some much-needed comic relief in the often-serious film, reminding us why we love this crass, sarcastic E! Television personality.
But it’s Sheedy who steals the show, both from a solid performance and a healthy dose of nostalgia for the ’80s icon. Fans of The Breakfast Club will be happy to see Ally in the same fur-lined hoodie she wore to detention all those years ago. Seriously, was this on purpose or just a wardrobe malfunction? Either way, we love it.
Steam is currently on the film festival circuit, but with any luck it’ll be in national release soon. Until then, we’ll just have to head to our own gym steam rooms and wait patiently for some drama.
Running Time: 120 minutes
Starring: Ally Sheedy, Ruby Dee, Kate Siegel
Written and Directed by: Kyle Schickner
Screens tomorrow at Outfest 2008 in Los Angeles with more dates being announced soon.