By Joanna Wagner
LGBT Perspectives TV & Movie Critic
SAN FRANCISCO — Raven’s Touch is about loss, recovery and love. I view a fair number of stories that have lesbian romance in them — Lost Girl and Orphan Black come to mind. Raven (Dreya Weber) and Kate (Traci Dinwiddie) have little in common with the terminally attractive Bo & Lauren or the exotic lab rats Cosima & Delphine. Raven and Kate are very real, like the couple you might meet at a friends’ party or run into during a walk in the woods.
This is a film made by lesbians, with a lesbian audience in mind. The funding comes from donations, meaning the filmmakers have no obligation to investors and are free to explore the script and characters at a leisurely pace.
The story opens with rough wood carvings as opening credits roll. We are introduced to Kate and her two teenage children, Jack (Chris O’Neal) and Maya (Victoria Park), driving on a country road. They’re on the way to a campsite filled with memories. Kate has just ended her long-term relationship with Angela (Nadège August). She is seeking time and a refuge where she can regroup. The kids are surly, as teenagers often are, coerced to surrender cell phones and boyfriends. Kate has her first encounter with Raven when she almost runs her over. The startled eyes of Kate meet the angry eyes of Raven, who flees into the woods.
Raven is hiding from her own demons. She blames herself for the loss of her beloved niece. She relishes her privacy and is angered by the arrival of Kate’s family. She is alone and wants privacy in which to grieve. She presents a hard exterior to the world and she will take no comfort from anyone.
The relationship between Kate and Raven is off to a rocky start, which will become even rockier before the intervention of Joe (David Hayward) starts some rapprochement between the two women and the kids. Joe is the mediating force in the film. He helps Raven and Kate to understand each other. He interjects humor and an optimism in what could be somber situation.
The thing that stand out for me about this film is the tenderness that grows between the characters. Raven cares for Kate’s wounds and Kate for Raven’s. Maya and Jack find empathy for their mother, Kate and Raven can help each other grieve. All come together to overcome a situation that threatens the lives and happiness of them all.
Raven’s Touch will receive worldwide release in November. Keep it in mind as a sweet movie to watch with someone special on a chilly autumn night.