What You Need To Know:
Mixed pagan & moral worldview with references to God & angels; 3 mild profanities; moderate violence because of blood in fight between mean cop & black man & blood during apparent miscarriage, plus drunken man accidentally falls & kills himself; one brief obscured scene of depicted fornication resulting in pregnancy plus some kissing & hugging; no nudity; brief scenes of alcohol use, drunkenness & boozy demeanor; smoking; and, disturbed young woman has delusions of being able to levitate & imaginary talks with a timid angel she calls Bob, the theology of which is deliberately vague, apparently due to her unfocused state of mind.
Like its protagonist, a young college-age woman named Acey, Scott Goldstein’s independent movie LEVITATION is an unfocused piece of work searching for an identity. The movie cannot decide whether it wants to be a winsome fantasy about the search for God, a relationship movie about two outcasts from society, a social drama about a pregnant young woman trying to decide whether to put her baby up for adoption or kill it, or a movie about an adopted woman searching for her birth mother.
In the movie’s first and most morally objectionable scene, Acey has a brief sexual encounter with a young man who has no interest in establishing a relationship. At home, Acey’s father is in a drunken stupor, listening to classical music. Acey goes to sleep but decides to take a walk after she experiences a strange dreamlike event where her body levitates slightly above her bed. (Later, the movie seems to suggest that Acey’s levitation experiences are part of a delusional mind in a dreamlike state, a mind that also has frequent fantasy conversations with a timid, good-looking angel she calls Bob.) A concerned radio DJ named Downbeat sees Acey walking alone on the street and takes an interest in the troubled young woman. He agrees to drive her to the beach before he starts his late-night show. Once Downbeat leaves, Acey has the first of many conversations with Bob. They are aimless, laconic discussions which seem to lead nowhere. Bob in fact seems to have no idea who God is and no direction for Acey to follow.
Eventually, Acey finds out that she is pregnant, and she believes she is adopted. She lives in the woods for awhile, then learns that her father had an accidental fall and died. Downbeat helps Acey find her birth mother and drives her to the mother’s house. Regrettably, the mother has another family and Acey doesn’t fit in with the scheme of things there. Meanwhile, Downbeat has an unfortunate encounter with a mean policeman, which leads to a fight. Downbeat knocks the cop out and runs away, but returns to face his medicine.
At about this point, in the movie’s best scene, Downbeat delivers a moving soliloquy over the radio about unwanted people: “What about the illegitimate, the unwanted? We are not street legal; only the wanted are legitimate, but we are not unloved. Let’s get street legal.” This could have been a great plea against abortion and for good parenting, but the movie is too unfocused to take advantage of this opportunity. Still, it was a great speech that came at the right moment in the movie.
Throughout the movie, it is clear that Acey is not comfortable with her own identity. At one point, she tells her birth mother’s other daughter that she hates to look at herself in the mirror. After several more strange, pointless conversations with her imaginary angel, Bob, and a miscarriage of her baby, Acey decides to establish an ongoing friendship with her father figure, Downbeat. The movie ends with them having dinner at a restaurant, where Acey looks at the window and finally smiles at her reflection. She has obviously found some kind of identity, but beyond her new friendship with Downbeat, the movie doesn’t let the audience know what exactly that is.
Although LEVITATION has little objectionable material in it, it remains a curiosity piece for those in the art house crowd who mistake enigma for profundity. Perhaps it should have focused more on Acey’s relationship with Downbeat, which seems to be the most interesting of all the movie’s different subplots.