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Madeline's Madeline

Director:  Josephine Decker
Year Released:  2018
Rating:  2.0

Very, very mentally ill teen Madeline (Helena Howard), who lives with her doting mother Regina (Miranda July) and brother, joins a theatre troupe "directed" by pregnant Evangeline (Molly Parker) ... except Madeline's emotional problems derail the project they're "working on." Decker - notorious for trying to one-up Marina Abramović's performance piece The Artist Is Present by stripping naked in the MoMA (sorry, it wasn't complimentary, it was showmanship: nudity trumps all) - takes a free-form approach to her story, her camera drifting in and out of focus and getting distracted by weirdos in NYC - it has visual ADHD - and permitting her characters to behave in impulsive ways, like Howard meowing or making noises in the street when not pulling her mother's hair out. Decker at least tries something new (what a relief) - about theatre-as-therapy and tough Mother-Daughter relationships manifesting themselves in neurotic antics - but it's still vague: the movie comes to a full stop (instead of a smooth conclusion) and I'm not sure I saw a young lady making peace with her demons as much as a filmmaker fumbling to work out her own.

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