A beautiful ode to loneliness and the need to be isolated.
Sometimes, people just want to be left alone. Other times, people really want to be left alone. This film is essentially about a girl named Catherine who really, really, really wants to be left alone. The story follows Catherine, played by Elisabeth Moss, after enduring a traumatic period in her life and breaking up with her long term boyfriend. She spends a week on vacation with her friend Virginia, played by Katherine Waterston, as she attempts to cope with her situation.
Alex Ross Perry wrote and directed this film beautifully. The film is very visceral and real, detailing a person who truly wants to be left alone during a psychological breakdown. The screenplay is intricate, detailed, nuanced, and searing. It has great dialogue as well as amazing monologues that Elisabeth Moss does an amazing job with. Throughout you get this constant feeling of dread and dark anticipation and it’s amazing. Above all, the film is masterfully edited and the cinematographer, Sean Price Williams, really makes this film unique. Throughout the film, you get the feeling like you’re watching an old horror movie from the 40s or 50s with the creaky and creepy sounding music. The camera work amazingly displays each scene, highlights Catherine’s physical changes as she forgoes sleep, and just adds to the dramatic tension constantly building up as Catherine undergoes her breakdown.
Elisabeth Moss is amazing in this film. She delivers every line with amazing cadence, emotion, and depth as she essentially portrays two almost distinctly different people from the beginning to the end of the film. Having the camera set on you for essentially the entire 90 minutes and giving your all for every minute of it is an amazing feat few other actors can achieve. With such a role as this, it’s easy to at times fall into the trope of a hysterical woman after a breakup, but she instead achieves this caustically beautiful portrayal of an insomniac breaking down mentally as she attempts to escape from people. The rest of the cast was wonderful as well. Katherine Waterston plays really well off of Moss and Patrick Fugit manages this perfect mixture of love and hate, which is exactly what his character calls for.
The pacing is a little slow and may get a little dull at moments, especially considering the amount of solo scenes. The film’s overall vibe and late 60s arthouse feel may be a little alienating to the general movie goer, but watching someone go through a mental breakdown may be a little alienating. For those who enjoy thrilling independent films will love this one. Fans of Elisabeth Moss and Alex Ross Perry will know what to expect and will love this. With some of the best acting, directing, and cinematography you’ve seen all year, this movie is a winner.
The film hits theaters this Friday.