Bitch ★★★

There’s nothing especially *scary* in writer-director Marianna Palka’s bizarre domestic satire 'Bitch', but there’s a lot that’s rancorous and discomfiting about it. Like Darren Aronofsky’s divisive, ferociously feminist 'mother!', Palka’s feature will provoke women to nod in recognition and men to squirm in discomfort. The director stars as depressive homemaker Jill, who one day begins acting like a dog: scrambling around naked on all fours, snuffling in her own filth, and barking viciously at her ungrateful children and negligent, philandering husband Bill (Jason Ritter). Palka milks the scenario for bitter laughs, but also allows it to play out plausibly, with psychiatric evaluations and clashes over legal guardianship. Unexpectedly, the film follows Bill’s perspective once Jill undergoes her canine devolution, permitting the seemingly hopeless jackwagon a credible redemption arc. This generosity, as well as the film’s acerbic acumen and alluring formal flourishes, elevate 'Bitch' above its one-joke conceit.