Elisabeth Moss has now collaborated with director Alex Ross Perry on three films, each of them a small-scale, modestly-budgeted affair propelled by characterization, dialogue, and performance.
But the newly released trailer for Her Smell hints at a ferocious intensity sure to set this apart from the likes of Listen Up Philip and Queen of Earth. If nothing else (and, make no mistake, there’s plenty else), this film contains more coke-fueled screaming outbursts than the rest of Perry’s filmography put together.
Moss whirls through the film with the force of a hurricane as Becky Something, the volatile frontwoman of fictitious riot grrrl group Something She. The film assumes a Shakespearean five-act structure to track Becky’s downward spiral of narcotics and solipsism through to her eventual recovery and revival – think Henry VIII by way of Bikini Kill.
A stacked supporting cast orbits Becky, working to keep her conscious long enough to fulfill their contractual obligations: her bandmates (Agyness Deyn and Gayle Rankin), her long-suffering record label impresario (Eric Stoltz), her ex-husband (Dan Stevens), her mother (Virginia Madsen), and the trio of up-and-comers (Dylan Gelula, Ashley Benson, and Cara Delevingne) she threatens to drag into her mess.
The trailer hums with the same anxious energy as the film itself and its subject, each of them one split-second’s impulse away from a spike of mania, rage, or violence.
At the film’s premiere in Toronto last year, our own Hannah Woodhead clocked it as “a soulful portrait of a talented but troubled artist, not to mention an exploration of female friendships within an industry still dominated by powerful men.” Her off-the-record comments offer a somewhat more direct appraisal.
Her Smell comes to theaters in the US on 12 April.
Published 21 Feb 2019
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