“Black Bear”: Bright Performances may leave you in the Dark

Synopsis

A filmmaker at a creative impasse seeks solace from her tumultuous past at a rural retreat, only to find that the woods summon her inner demons in intense and surprising ways.

The Good

Personal fave Aubrey Plaza (if you haven’t seen her in “Safety Not Guaranteed”, do) sneaks up on you with a riveting performance that is as hard to pigeonhole as it is not to praise. Her character of Allison acts as the fulcrum of a shifting threesome, the other pair played by Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon, each of whom also shine here.

The Bad

Talk about blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. This mind manipulating dramedy flat-out fubars the fuzzy formula in the face.  At times this gets dizzily disorienting and rough to reconcile.

Stock character?  We don’t need not stinkin’ stock character

Plaza brings us a contra-cookie-cutter characterization of a woman in crisis here.  We are mesmerized as Allison transforms in startling fashion from one personification into altogether another, each projecting a decidedly different impression during this story told in two dramatically distinct segments.

And speaking of…

And now for something completely different…

About halfway through “Black Bear”, the narrative quite abruptly, and super strangely, morphs into a movie within a movie motif.  (Who in the hell is this dude strolling up the steps out of nowhere supplying her a cig?)

Overall

In the end I’ll leave it to you to muse over the metaphor of the feral forest mammal we meet in “Black Bear”.

“Muse” being the operative word.

I invite you to enjoy all of my film reviews as “The Quick Flick Critic”, continually updated at https://thequickflickcritic.blogspot.com

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"Black Bear": Bright Performances may leave you in the Dark
Overall
7.3/10
7.3/10
  • Acting - 7.75/10
    7.8/10
  • Cinematography - 6.75/10
    6.8/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 7/10
    7/10
  • Setting/Theme - 7.5/10
    7.5/10
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"Black Bear": Bright Performances may leave you in the Dark

Aubrey Plaza sneaks up on you in “Black Bear” with a riveting performance that is as hard to pigeonhole as it is not to praise.

About John Smistad

I am a voracious writer of Movie Reviews. Check 'em out at my Blog, "The Quick Flick Critic", @: The Quick Flick Critic Thanks guys! John

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