The Forest for the Trees ★★★★

This ends with my all-time favourite Grandaddy song, which immediately gives the film an extra star.

The production design on this film is fantastic: subtle, evocative, thematically appropriate. As the film wears on, Melanie's apartment begins to mirror her own inner life, the psychic damage manifesting in clutter, knick knacks, dirt. Not as obvious as say, High-Rise, The Forest For the Trees uses the steady accumulation of incidents and detail to propel its narrative of imbalance and social awkwardness. It's more so that Melanie is desperate for positive attention than she's unable to read social cues; she doesn't seem to have any healthy relationships in her life before moving to this city, as what few interactions we see her have with say, her ex or her mom appear hollow and somewhat mean. Melanie has good intentions, but she's unable to restrain herself, always going a bit too far.

The lead actor's performance is incredible: she fidgets, she has a range of smiles, from genuine (so rare) to the forced ones where she tries to project happiness. She oozes neediness and desperation. A fantastic scene early in the film depicts Melanie trying to make friends. She goes to the food court in the mall and asks two women if she could sit with them. The two women are clearly venting their frustrations about work, but that doesn't stop Melanie from predatorily waiting for an opening to chitchat about the weather. The actor's choices in the scene never makes the moment feel inauthentic, but rather, presents the audience with a sad lonely woman.

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