New Take On Old Formula;
Considering I finally got fully caught up with The Handmaid’s Tale this morning and eagerly anticipate Legion’s third season, it was very timely to choose today to watch the new film starring Elizabeth Moss and Dan Stevens. It’s theatrical run was brief in my market, but luckily for me, Hoopla was streaming it immediately.
This isn’t the normal movie about a singer in the lows of life and in need of a redemptive arc. Alex Ross Perry has crafted something different here, told in five distinct sections that each tell an important part of an uncomfortable but fascinating story. The narrative centers around Becky Something (an incredible Elizabeth Moss), the singer in an all-female punk band that is spiraling out of control. Between an ex-husband and the child they share, her bandmates and the head of her label, no one can rein her in and lessen the danger she poses to herself and those close to her. But unlike most films in this genre, this one structures itself in a very different and refreshing way, and while it is a bit longer than it needs to be, it grabs you right away and never lets its grip loosen.
Moss is absolutely fantastic as Becky, using fierce energy to draw you into her tortured inner circle and tighten the vice grip. She is wildly unhinged, letting loose an endless string of words that plays like a monologue, concerned only with herself and her art, however she can find each. She is surrounded by people who love and care for her, regardless of the hurt she’s inflicted over the years, but she simply can’t look past her own selfishness to see them. Moss nails the role with uncanny precision, bringing total believability throughout the entire arc.
The film starts with Becky at her absolute worst, a welcome change from the typical formula that shows the musician’s rise to power and eventual downfall. Here, Perry doesn’t set the table for as much emotional investment by starting her at at rock bottom, but the story instantly becomes more riveting for that decision. Each of the five scenes are broken up with some disjointed home movie shots, painting a little more of a fun and somewhat innocent picture of Becky to punctuate the story. The vignettes are long and heavy on dialogue, filled with extensive takes and lots of motion. Perry’s camera stays uncomfortably close to the turbulence, immersing the audience in the mess that is Becky’s life from all angles.
Is the title strange? Yes. Is this for everyone? Probably not. Are you likely to forget it? Certainly not.
Her Smell is Written and Directed By Alex Ross Perry
Have you seen Her Smell? What did you think? Drop a comment below and head over to our Facebook Community for much more discussion!