Madeline’s Madeline Screen 5 articles

Madeline’s Madeline


Madeline’s Madeline Poster
  • Is this a great movie? With a day to think about it, I’m not sure it is, but Josephine Decker’s feature has ambition and the desire for greatness in spades — in the context of a festival that mostly inspired one “yup, that was fine” reaction after another, that counts for a lot. I was grinning throughout; it’s nice to see _somebody_ going for it.

  • The central triangle of women in “Madeline’s Madeline” offers stringent, fierce, yet delicately detailed performances, extracting new twists and deep furies from classic coming-of-age tropes. Howard, in particular, is among the most original and creative performers I’ve seen in years. . . . Howard’s impulses and inclinations, her stride and her silences, have a presence that owes nothing to simulation and everything to character—even as her technique is revealed to be that of a virtuoso.

  • Decker’s film, the best thing I saw at Sundance this year, is built around tension and chaos: Its unruly scenes emerge out of disorder, out of chants and shrieks and fractured images, and always threaten to fade back into abstraction. . . . But one senses a method in this madness. The narrative might be shattered, but the film’s slipstream of emotion is powerful and inescapable.

  • The bleary, dissonant, emotionally bracing style that Decker has developed with cinematographer Ashley Connor is matched by a psychologically searching and generous portrayal of the fine line between psychosis and creativity. . . . The climax explodes into an assaultive, confrontational musical number recalling great alternative movie musicals like All That Jazz and Dancer in the Dark, and by the end we’ve seen a dizzying act of film experimentation.

  • Madeline’s (and Howard’s) incredible performance, matched to a turbulent storyline and expressionist, intimate camerawork—recalling the haptic style often employed by the Harvard Sensory Lab for experiential documentaries such as Leviathan or Somniloquies—makes us question who the “real” self is, and what the real story here is. Our bewilderment as viewers is not taken for granted, but stimulated with formal elements typical of Decker’s filmography.

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