Black Bear reminds me of Ingrid Goes West . Both are films with Aubrey Plaza as the main character who are both in a world where the lines between reality and not are very blurred. The two of them also showcase Aubrey Plaza's talents as a character with a flat face, clumsy demeanor and a character that always says what comes to her mind without thinking it first.
Here, Aubrey plays someone named Allison. He is a filmmaker who currently lives in a house in a jungle corner close to a lake. The house is owned by a married couple, Gabe (Christopher Abbott, who I seem to have just seen on Possessor ) and Blair (Sarah Gadon). It's safe to say that ever since Allison came to her second home, the situation immediately turned awkward and the more time went on the worse the situation changed.
Even since Allison first met Blair, we've seen that the situation has gotten really awkward. The two of them gave each other compliments, such as saying they were beautiful and complimenting each other's bags and overalls , but no compliment sounded sincere. The two of them just laugh dryly after being praised, until Allison says she doesn't like compliments that are reciprocated by Blair if she likes compliments. Awkward. Clumsy. Sour.
Situations like that are really bad for us to find, but hasn't that situation also happened to us in the real world. To meet someone new and every time we try to open a conversation or try to continue the conversation it turns the atmosphere very awkward, the tension in the air is so thick that it looks like it can be cut with a knife. Situations like that do exist, and do happen, and that clumsiness is what Black Bear relies on .
Night falls, and the three of them will have dinner prepared by Gabe. This is where we start to see what director and writer Lawrence Michael Levine was aiming for in Black Bear , because it is in this scene that the energy of the film really kicks in. What started just talking about why Gabe and Blair moved here quickly turned into a debate about the feminine and the roles of each family member, and eventually Allison also became the main topic of debate and the debate erupted.
The energy of the Black Bear's chaos was indeed immense, which could rapidly increase in just a few moments. But amidst the chaos that appears in a scene, never does a scene look messy. It is true that the dialogues often overlap each other, but each scene still looks neatly running so that the chaos energy that is evenly distributed always creeps from one scene to the next, resulting in a series of scenes that are both very lively and also very unexpected.
Structurally, Black Bear is also very interesting. Earlier, when Allison visited Gabe and Blair's residence was part one called "The Bear in The Road". After the chaos in part one, the film again introduces the audience to the next part which is called "The Bear by The Boat House". It is in this second part that the film feels meta-like, something I might not have expected after the chaos that occurred in the previous section.
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If in the first part we see Allison who says she is looking for inspiration to write a new story, in the second we see herself starring in a scene directed by her husband, Gabe (Again, played by Abbott). How strange, right? Looking at Gabe, now the husband and director of Allison, which in the first part we see him is Blair's partner and also a musician. The meta-situations that Lawrence Michael Levine have created have created and supported the concept the film carries: the disappearing of the lines between reality and the pursuit of a work of art.
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Black Bear does have a dreamlike structure. A scene that was chaotic and continued to the next which was the same as chaotic. Like a dream, we don't know how we got there. We just jump right into it and act as if nothing happened. Especially in the second part, where the story goes like a delusion. Is this really just a delusion? Or did it happen?
The second part also shows the dark humor that this film has. Indeed, everything that happened was really unpleasant, and maybe even really disturbing. But in the middle there are also quick moments that are really hilarious, even though they don't really accentuate his comedy. That ingenuity is also what makes this film really alive, and it's also really entertaining. To see a world filled with artists who even pursue perfection in their works are willing to do anything. To see the craziness that artists have. That's Black Bear .
And it seems like it was true what Gabe said to Allison. "This film will change your life." And it looks like the wording is apt for Aubrey Plaza, too, which increases the meta feeling in it.
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