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Black Bear

At the beginning of the film, Alison (Aubrey Plaza) arrives at a large mansion/cabin in the woods. She is a film director, a former actress who is looking to get away to help reinvigorate her creativity. Gabe (Christopher Abbott) greets her and carries her luggage up to the house, where they are greeted by Gabe’s pregnant girlfriend Blair (Sarah Gadon). I am not going to say much about this film that takes place in two parts and is kind of a movie within a movie; saying anything about the plot would spoil the game the director plays with our minds. Are these people who they say they are, or…? I was fascinated by the film. The mood sometimes feels like horror; at other times, dreamy, in a David Lynch sort of way. The movie is frequently funny, and always a bit of a pleasant head-scratcher. For me, the best part of the film was Plaza’s performance. She is amazing; her facial expressions and glances, and her performance within a performance are commanding. I really enjoy a film that is well-acted, has a solid story, and plays with my head, and this one did it – I loved the various shifts that happen between the three characters. I don’t think that it is a movie for everyone, but for those who like good arthouse film entertainment, I really recommend it. While not perfect – I would have appreciated more depth of character – I am sure this will be one of my favorites of the year. (2020; 4 Stars)

About Gary Burkholder

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