Madeline (newcomer Helena Howard) has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theater troupe. When the workshop's ambitious director (Molly Parker) pushes the teenager to weave her rich interior world and troubled history with her mother (Miranda July) into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur. The resulting battle between imagination and appropriation rips out of the rehearsal space and through all three women’s lives.
Writer/director Josephine Decker (THOU WAST MILD AND LOVELY) has long been an independent filmmaker to admire, utilizing a welcome expressionistic approach that imbues her subjects with a vibrant sense of urgency. Anchored by a virtuoso performance from newcomer Helena Howard, whose powerful screen presence commands attention, Decker’s film displays a rare sensitivity for capturing the messy struggles of discovering a sense of one's self that defies easy narrative categorization.
“Dizzy camera movements, out-of-focus shots, run-on editing and non-diegetic sound make for a very intense viewing experience. Factor in the actors and group improv, and the sensation of watching experimental theater on drugs is complete.” —Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter “A drama of furious disconnection...Decker’s film, which is shot (by the cinematographer Ashley Connor) in jagged angles and torn edges, with physical energy and piercing clarity, is filled with the urgent drive for artistic creation.” —Richard Brody, The New Yorker
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