Josiah Morgan’s review published on Letterboxd:
It feels so fucking cold.
Sounds absurd that a film as openly aggressive as Ms. 45 could so accurately capture the feeling of sexual abuse but more importantly the feelings afterward (indeed, what it still feels like for me).
No -- I haven't turned into a hyper-emotional murderess -- but the repetition of events, the idea that perhaps replaying moments can change the way they happened, the discomfort of comfort and the visual representations of recreating traumas through menial tasks. it's so much easier to be unhappy because there is never any cohesion between what somebody already has possession of and what somebody wishes to be in possession of (in this case: sanity, stability, understanding).
Even Ferrara's visual styling seems to conjure up old emotions: every movement, decision, plot progression physically alters a composition/shot or misconstrues the context placed around it just as any action taken seems to alter the present moment and the future - but most importantly, any action taken serves to recontextualize the past.
It's stunning then, that Ms. 45 is so successful in creating an intelligent criticism of genre/humanity/gender whilst formulating something so honest, so angry, and so passionate.
Thana's inability to speak has little-to-no bearing on the narrative but it's important to note that this means she's forced to look at herself -- when her boss faces her somewhere between the first and second acts asking her to try harder due to her 'handicap' he is of course referring to her silence but he may as well be referring to her trauma too. When she hands him a note with just two words written on them - I'll try - it's as good a signal as any that she actually wants to get better despite not knowing how to go about this. Yet she still has no means of properly communicating this -- silence is a promise (whether one you make to yourself or one you are forced to make) to the individual, a promise to yourself to understand why you work.
And when you find no further understanding of yourself than you had before your abuse, what happens to you? When you have too much to say but don't know how to say it, how do you respond? This internalized discomfort has to explode somewhere in a display of physical aggression -- toward others, or to oneself. It happened to Thana.
It happened to me too.