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Film Analysis | Film Reviews

Laundry, Languish and Love

1 Feb , 2002  

Written by Chris Cooke | Posted by:

A Review of Jarret Liotta’s 'How Clean Is My Laundry.'

Laundromats are a gathering point in a city, where the oddest assortments of people come together in pursuit of cleanliness. Even in ultra-rich Westport, Connecticut, you never know what to expect. "How Clean Is My Laundry" — written, directed by, and starring Jarret Liotta — focuses on the life of one devoted Washing Well employee, a young man whose relationship with his hometown is a touch strained.

A writer by profession — well, okay, he hasn’t written much, but that’s alright, he’s working out his ideas in his head — a folk singer in his spare time — of dubious talent, to put it mildly — and a full-time marginalized yet mostly cheerful figure in society, he spends his days watching the wash and pondering the human condition. The high points of his day include a snubbing by a rude coffee server (Tina Castiglione) at the local Deli Place and a bombardment of fragmented thoughts from local nut-case Pat (Kenn Woodard) as he tries to wash the stains out of other people’s panties. Let’s just say that our protagonist’s life isn’t much of a party.

Along comes Veronica (Robin Michele Gajda), a non-native who thinks she’s made it in life just be renting out a room in beautiful Westport. New in town, she’s desperate to find a native Westporter willing to spend the rest of his life and money with and on her. She finds our young writer’s wallet and, after the obligatory credit-check, phones him to return it. They’re a match. Love and subsequent complications follow.

Liotta’s tone here is one of detached irony, completely silly yet understated at the same time, and it is this tone that is the film’s strength. Despite a less-than-gripping plot, "How Clean Is My Laundry" constantly amuses, poking as much fun on its narrator as on the people he disdains. The voiceover is almost non-stop, but it’s effective here because so often what our young narrator says is so readily interpreted in ways he doesn’t intend, most often at his expense. A would-be-writer is such an easy target, yet Liotta’s film is fresh and smart enough to bring a smile to your face throughout. A pleasant treat.

‘How Clean Is My Laundry’ can be seen at the Director’s View Film Festival. For more information, visit www.thedirectorsview.com.


'How Clean Is My Laundry' can be seen at the Director’s View Film Festival. For more information, visit www.thedirectorsview.com.