Meewella | Critic

According to P

Tag: Isabella Rossellini

QuickView: Cat Person (2023)

“Make peace with a little discomfort.”

Dr Enid Zabala

Cat Person occupies the same space of ambiguity in relationships as The Accusation but its tonal approach is more akin to Promising Young Woman, particularly in its use of genre expectations as a tool. Susanna Fogel avoids resorting to inner monologue by externalising Margot’s psychology through her fantasies — often using horror tropes — and this is particularly effective in demonstrating how women’s legitimate fears can be amplified disproportionately by the media they consume (“People choose to be scared,” opines her professor). As Margot’s relationship with Robert develops unsteadily, the audience and characters alike are trying to piece together what genre we are in. Both Emilia Jones and Nicholas Braun deftly play with this confusion: the age and height difference can make Robert threatening, yet he can seem clumsy and inexperienced compared to Margot. Films frequently use overlaid text messages but rarely do they capture the cadence of these conversations so well, including asynchronous engagement and the insecurity it elicits. Whilst Cat Person very much presents Margot’s subjective perspective of their interactions, it is provocative rather than preachy. Margot’s roommate might typically be the voice of reason but here highlights the toxicity of ostracising men and imposing rules on other women’s dating. The New Yorker short story that spawned the film was not the same viral sensation on this side of the Atlantic, and Cat Person may fare better without the comparison. There is enough universal familiarity in the awkward dating experience to make any viewer cringe, but that same universality is lost in the escalation of the last act which perhaps indicates an overextension of a taut short story. Until then, the ambiguity is deployed effectively, inducing anxiety and discomfort in the viewer — precisely the reaction Cat Person wishes to evoke.


QuickView: Blue Velvet (1986)

“I’m seeing something that was always hidden. I’m in the middle of a mystery and it’s all secret.”

Jeffrey Beaumont

David Lynch describes himself as an intuitive director rather than an intelligent one. This style is perhaps clearest in Blue Velvet which is fundamentally a series of scenes plucked from a dream, loosely threaded together under the guise of a mystery. Everything serves atmosphere rather than character or narrative, giving power to its subversive tone. Lynch and Tim Burton share the same disquiet view of American suburbia as a veneer over a darker underbelly. This is represented here as our two pristine suburban investigators collide with seedy characters drawn from film noir.


"A film is a petrified fountain of thought."

(CC) BY-NC 2003-2023 Priyan Meewella

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