Actress ★★★


Greene is canny enough to foreground his intention by placing Brandy's repeated take toward the beginning, encouraging us to question the authenticity of everything that follows (and, by implication, the very notion of documentary "authenticity" itself). Nonetheless, I feel like the film has a serious Tim Problem, which grows more and more significant as the dissolution of that relationship becomes the dominant narrative arc, swamping Brandy's tentative efforts to revive her acting career. (That I wanted to see more struggling-actor nuts/bolts than the movie ultimately offers is arguably my own problem.) It's one thing when Greene's camera improbably follows Brandy into the shower, as she's clearly "complicit" in Actress' interrogation of form. It's quite another thing, however, when, for example, we observe Tim arriving home late at night, with the rest of the house apparently asleep, and he pretends that the camera isn't there. My guess is that Greene would argue that this "scene" is just another aspect of his general approach, but because we're given virtually no access to Tim, the nature of his involvement with the project became, for me, a major distraction rather than a productive open question. And as things gradually turn a bit ugly, and Tim continues to wander through the movie without ever acknowledging that a movie is being shot, I became more and more uncomfortable on his behalf. He must have signed off on everything we see, obviously, but I don't feel as if that justifies treating him like an extra in Brandy's life during what's essentially a divorce proceeding. That's taking experimental subjectivity too far.

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