Always Shine ★★★½

[65/100]

I saw the final act of Always Shine as a sort of simultaneous take-off and crash landing. It's a sudden departure from what came before that elucidates certain themes that hadn't necessarily jumped out earlier, like men's idealization of more meek or submissive women, or the performative nature of womanhood. There's also some great imagery, borrowing from Psycho and Persona and adding in creepy recreations of previous moments, like the shower scene. Then again, it also struck me as a little bit of a schlocky or unsatisfying cop-out, almost like Takal had thrown her hands up and delivered an ambiguous and surreal detour instead of figuring out where to go with the tension she'd slowly built. At any rate, there's something quite appealing about this movie to me, most of all a pretty constantly ominous mood and a wonderfully intense performance by Mackenzie Davis - both qualities that give me as a viewer the intense desire to peel back the onion layers a bit further.

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