“Lingua Franca”


Metacritic (5/10), Rotten Tomatoes (**+)

While this story of an undocumented transgender Filipino care giver seeking to find a way to legally remain stateside stems from a potentially engaging premise, it never goes anywhere once launched. The film’s slight, underdeveloped narrative, with its many story threads that never fully pan out, yields a picture that flails about in search of focus. That’s unfortunate, because writer-director Isabel Sandoval’s latest has a rich vein of material to draw from if only it were given the development needed to make it flourish cinematically. What viewers are left with is a meandering piece with lots of long, lingering, gorgeously photographed shots that add little to a story that doesn’t know where it ultimately wants to go.