Madeline's Madeline ★★★★½

Technically impressive in every single regard, but highly meta, contrived and exhausting of an experience (for me personally). And I mean all of this in a good way.

I'm the kind of guy that sort of wags his fist in the air whenever he hears the word "performance art", and Madeline's Madeline puts that premise on full blast, exploring the boundaries between appropriation and exploitation of the artist's background. Coupled with the woozy editing and jarring soundtrack, you get this sort of nauseating dream-like experience which acts as a self-referential critique of the artist's process. You get to see this constant tension building up between Howard, Molly Parker, and Miranda July, all of whom give landmark performances. I keep seeing the term "tour-de-force" being used in various editorials when describing Helena Howard's debut performance here, and in all honesty, it's quite the force!

If you can get past the indulgent and (intentionally) fatigue-inducing nature of the film, you've got a bold and fresh work that really stands on its own and makes a statement. Mind you, it's not a resolution--it's a statement. And though I don't want to see Madeline's Madeline again anytime soon, I can appreciate it for what it offers filmgoers. Really quite a unique experience, perhaps a contender for one of the best indie entries of 2018. Decker's four years of investment in the movie certainly paid off.

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