After years of absence, Krisha reunites with her family for a holiday gathering. She sees it as an opportunity to fix her past mistakes, cook the family turkey, and prove to her loved ones that she has changed for the better.
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"You're a leaver, an abandoneer." For Krisha, living means using and disappearing. Well into her seventh decade as this dizzying, dolorous domestic nightmare gets underway, Krisha's looking ever less likely to change, no matter how hard she tries to put in "the work," and no matter how many times her sister swears that there's still time. That Krisha is probably Shults' mother piles pathos upon bone-pared pathos.
The score, by Brian McOmber, is quite extraordinary as was the conceit of the director mostly using his own family as cast for this confrontational tale of a family gathering. Unfortunately the style and score overshadow the scripting and performances making this harder to get through than Thanksgiving with your own extended family. Kudos on the sister's confrontation scene though.
It perfectly captures the sense of existential dread, self destruction, and nihilism that permeates the typical American Thanksgiving/Christmas family gathering (for the Romanian equivalent, see Sieranevada).
I sat in stupefied amazement during the opening section of this near-masterpiece. American cinema is just not supposed to be this good. Begins w/ a direct shout-out to Altman's Three Women (and Images is a major precursor), but this thing is totally doing new things. It also ends brilliantly. There is, however, a bit of a mess in the middle primarily related to a questionable technical conceit.
I like this as experimental american cinema, it has a lot of nice segments - the smoking scenes with the brother-in-law, the sister's final breakdown, the mother's scenes - very real. But the film as a piece felt underwhelming. I think this kind of film asks for a better climax - or maybe a stronger point of view within one specific genre.
"Krisha" is an impressive debut and incredibly efficient at portraying all the confusion and annihilation that this troubled woman faces. The first half almost hints at some dark humor that I wish would have been more explored because... can't we all relate a bit to the anger of surviving a family dinner while hysterical animals (human and dogs) create a chaotic mess all around us?