Thirst Street ★★★

[6]

A fascinating film precisely because it never drops the kayfabe. Are we supposed to be taking it seriously, as a case of deranged obsession and self-abasement, brought on by a not-too-distant trauma? Or is it actually a jet-black comedy about a horrible, embarrassing woman who refuses to face up to reality?

The conclusion offers a bit of a clue, given that it's practically a gender-reversed, live-action rendition of one of those old "Pepé Le Pew" sexual harassment cartoons from the 1940s. Against all odds, Gina got her man.

As others have noted, Lindsay Burdge is exquisite in the role of Gina. It's a delicate act, since most of our psychotic anti-heroes, from Don Quixote to Rupert Pupkin and Larry David, are decidedly male. Gina has to exhibit determination and frailty in equal measure, and above all she has to win our respect. If she didn't, Thirst Street would collapse into an anti-feminist caricature -- the "one-night stand from hell" -- which would align the film with a misogynist thinking that is never far from the culture's surface.

With this in mind, it's fairly obvious that Anjelica Huston's narrator is there to keep us on the proper path. If Thirst Street has a notable flaw, it's that her voiceover is occasionally a bit too on-the-nose. Still, Silver and Wells mostly nail this. Fans of "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" should certainly check this out, if only to see how disturbing Rachel Bloom would be without quirky songs and any hint of self-awareness.