The Brass Teapot: movie review

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A surreal, misjudged fable about the financial upside of emotional violence, Ramaa Mosley’s first feature chucks a shiny samovar into the lives of underachieving young married couple Alice (Juno Temple) and John (Michael Angarano). What does the titular object do, you ask? It magically fills with cash when they abuse themselves or each other (a pinch on the forearm produces a shower of $100 bills). But as the teapot grows stingier, they resort to more drastic measures: domestic abuse, S&M games and eventually blows whose bruises don’t show.

Brass’s chipper style is doubtless meant as counterpoint to its darkish tale, but Mosley doesn’t have anything like the tonal chops to pull off the juxtaposition: The sprightly score reads as smug, and Angarano’s callow ingenuousness makes him seem like a teenager in a grown-up’s suit. There’s a hint of wide-eyed sociopathy in Temple’s aspirational housewife, an art-history major who sees the teapot as her ticket past the ignominy of an entry-level job, but the performance feels incomplete, part of a structure the movie doesn’t finish. Mosley expanded this from an earlier short, and it’s painfully obvious when she runs out of road. The film feels like its over long before the credits roll—or perhaps that’s just wishful thinking.

Follow Sam Adams on Twitter: @SamuelAAdams

Release details

Duration: 101 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ramaa Mosley
Cast: Juno Temple
Michael Angarano
Alexis Bledel

Average User Rating

5 / 5

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Ebo23

This was a great movie. Screening at NYU and the entire theater of 150 film students gave it a hundred percent thumbs up. Only the 2nd film in the film series of 100 films that has gotten a unanimous vote.

Sierra V.

I respectfully disagree. I saw the film on VOD and then met the director at WonderCon. She was very nice, not to mention the film is so funny! The way that Juno and Michael create their relationship is so believable. The ways that they inflict pain on themselves not just physically but emotionally and manage to still stay together is amazing. You have to think what would I do with the teapot? The overall theme of the film is great. I love indie movies and this one is one that I will definitely watch again.

Dusty James

Allow me to take a step back and say how disappointing it is to see a great indie film like this get 1/5 stars, while large studio "blockbusters" with far less charm and artistic passion are getting 5/5. Smh...

Lena J.

Well, I really liked it. My girlfriend LOVED it. Funny. Great performances. Short and sweet. Some of my favorite actors showed up in it. Loved Bobby Moynhan and Jack McBrayer. I've recommend The Brass Teapot to all my friends, much better movie than most out there right now but I'm not a professional critic.

Samantha Emberrs

I was at a screening at LMU in California and heard the director Ramma Mosely speak; she made this film for 700k in 19 days with a crew of 15 people. It was impressive and inspirational to hear how she did it. I think the film is amazing and super funny. The audience LOVED it. I never respond to reviews but I had to tell you, I think you missed the magic.