A deceptively simple motif about mother-daughter relationships proves an opportune vehicle for extending the comedy genre in ways that make paradox look more like the real issue than reality itself. Aided by a splendid set design and giving to props and surfaces a tactile visual form, Akerman condenses all sorts of serious issues into the transient spoof of choreographed moves across apartments. Elusively charming.
A perceptive, farcical and immensely enjoyable comedy drama. Frantic, chaotic at times and just the right side of downright depressing. Akerman shows not only her recognised cinematographic skills, but also a deep understanding of the ways such close and claustrophic relationships affect the mundanity of everyday existence. My only gripe was the unnecesaary inclusion of some 'zany' characters towards the end.
Some of the comedic elements do not work well but the choreography, music and energised performances successfully create a light sense of esprit. These are poignantly framed against a context of trans-generational trauma - the most interesting aspects being how Akerman plays with the motifs of smell, smoke and memory: conscious and unconscious ineradicable traces of the past making themselves felt in the present.
Unconvinced that there's sufficient material here to sustain interest over 110 minutes. Despite Mubi's by-line, this is a tale of the perils of moving home as much as cohabitation between pianistic mother and author daughter. Charlotte, fit a staircase handrail and switch to de-caff!