Monday, May 12, 2014

Hot Docs 2014 Film Review - The Actress

Brandy Burre had a significant recurring role on The Wire she was cast to play Theresa D'Agostino the campaign manager for the central character for season four of the show. Her role, scenes and lines continued to increase as the episodes progressed. The writers even began to hint at a romantic storyline between her character and mayoral candidate Thomas Carcetti. Then Brandy found out she was pregnant, left the show and acting to move to upstate to Beacon New York to have her child and then a second with her partner.

As the story begins Brandy is doing mundane tasks for her two children Henry and Stella. She dresses them in winter clothes, does the groceries and minds the house while her partner Tim runs the family restaurant often returning at all hours of the morning. Tim takes the kids to his parents in California for Stella's 4th birthday.  While along back in Beacon Brandy meets up with her former circle of acting friends word of the outing gets back to Tim and the theme of the piece shifts to the deconstruction of a relationship tracing back to where it started and working through all the details of separation which are particularly painful as there are kids are involved.

Director Robert Green presents a melancholy narrative centered on a woman who made voluntary some choices that severely effected her professional career and personal life. The camera holds Burre straight on as she tearfully recounts the history of her relationship after the discovery. Burre points to one incident that appeared minor at the time that as the seed that started the split. After break up the camera often catches Burre with glass of wine in hand as she tells her story. Greene also presents a sequence where the camera follows our heroine into the shower where she demonstrates motion and hand movements over her head. The scene shifts to our lead walking around her house accepting a hanger from her daughter and continuing down the hall repeating the same hand motions with the hanger over her head.

An underdeveloped part of the documentary is Burre's attempt to get back into acting. We see one in person outdoor meeting with an agent plus a few searches of potential roles on a lab top that are clearly not for her.  the production could have used a larger focus on Burre's the hunt for a role or a deeper exploration digging into female actress nearing 40 are considered washed up while the male equivalent is playing comic book hero roles.

The Actress has some good passages but looses its focus partway through the film. It turns into a relationship tale featuring a woman who is just plainly not likeable. Director Green could have jumped on some other elements which could have made a better production but did not do so. It is not a film that I can recommend.

** out of 4

The Actress| Robert Greene|  U.S.A.| 2014| 86 Minutes.

Tags: Mother, Suburbs, The Wire, Dishonesty, Separation, Sexism, Choices, Consequences.

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