Decker's filmmaking make Madeline's Madeline a challenging viewing experience that isn't always compelling or rewarding. That said, Helena Howard's star-making performance and the very delicate and alternative look at mental illness elevate this drama with mind-bending ambitions.
This movie isn't about Madeline. It's about Josephine Decker. And I find her white guilt incredibly boring. How about don't write your movie with four other white women if you're so concerned about telling this story?
Another one of these movies I have to call bullshit on. Madeline’s Madeline skirts around race to where Blackness/being of color becomes a caricature of exotified emotionally rabid otherness. It’s a hollow critique of white actions only meant to self-congratulate. Its a walking, obnoxious contradiction and exploits a talented young performer in the process
It's a whole lot of experimental wrapping paper enswathing what is really a very meager offering, despite how badly it wants to be DEEP and WEIRD and EDGY. Howard's performance ranges from petulant to peevish while not inspiring any real reason to care about or contemplate her character. Bandying the mental illness theme around while ramming the camera up your actors' nostrils isn't a substitute for actual depth.
Thorny in ways both good and bad, it seems to address head-on the criticisms of its own construction while crafting some easy exit routes. Namely, that the director be so blatantly manipulative. More worrying that the mother kind of receives the same status. But a feat of subjective experience, a testament to self-discovery through play.
It's very rare that you come across something truly original. For me this dizzying cinematic whirlwind left me at the edge of my seat and hit me surprisingly hard. All the actors are groundbreaking, but obviously especially Helena Howard, and especially that one scene (no spoilers). Such a brave and unique accomplishment and probably a film you can watch again and again and discover new things about each time.
really, really special. intimate, frightening, raw, real, yet also totally abstracted by layers of performativity. but in a good way! a performative deconstruction ... of performativity! josephine decker, you killed it!