America's revival of great cinema (by martinsayon)
THIS is the kind of cinema that's been missing from American theaters. I saw it tonight at the Museum of Moving image and was completely engrossed. Writer Alex Ross Perry pulls off the miraculous task of making two stuck up white girls completely magnetic as you join them on an complex ride of remorse, self-reflection, and even revenge. You constantly question the characters in the film; it rubs you like a Polanski. You question reality, sanity, intentions, who's good and who's bad. Not much can be said without ruining Catherine's Elizabeth Moss character arc. However, it is <more>
a must see and a staple in this director's career. I was lucky enough to meet both Moss and Perry after the screening. To add to the successful film, they were both extremely approachable and open to conversation. Perry and I discussed tone -- he made a comment on the importance of releasing tension, specifically, the use of a cutaway to Katherine Waterston's character after a very powerful monologue delivered by Moss. He knows cinema and it shows.Highly recommended.-Martin
So busy attending to others you forget to check up on yourself (by StevePulaski)
"Queen of Earth" sets is unsettling tone right from the get-go, by opening on a static shot of Catherine Elisabeth Moss , who's face is soaked from her own tears and her makeup smeared all around her eyes. She's in the middle of arguing with her boyfriend, who confirms he has been seeing someone else, and he's delivering this news to her shortly after her father committed suicide. After arguing back and forth for about two minutes, he takes off, Catherine's sitting alone with tears coating her face, and director Alex Ross Perry has "Queen of Earth" flash <more>
over her face in pink, cursive lettering, mimicking the style of film title cards from decades gone past.The film then focuses on Catherine staying with her best friend Virginia "Ginny" , played by Katherine Waterston, at Virginia's beach house, as she does every year. Last year, Catherine came with her boyfriend and a rather clear mind, thanks to a cushy job as her artist father's assistant. Now, she is without a job and without the anchor of her boyfriend. Catherine was so used to being codependent on both her father and her boyfriend; one can tell just from the opening scene that she always put her needs in the back of her mind to attend to her boyfriend's and, as her father's assistant, had to do the same thing on a daily basis. Now, Catherine is left with her own vices, of which she can't remember being the sole burden. She's hostile to Virginia and Virginia's new sorta-boyfriend Rich Patrick Fugit , who shows up uninvited on numerous occasions to, what Catherine thinks, provoke her, and spends most of her days either lying in bed, being passive aggressive to everyone, or , worst of all, going into an emotional tizzy with unexpected consequences for everyone around her.If the comedic masterpiece "The Color Wheel" failed to do it and "Listen Up Philip" didn't strike a chord significant enough, "Queen of Earth" should solidify Alex Ross Perry as one of the most talented American filmmakers of our time. His films, at their core, are comedies, even this one, as dark as it gets at times, but his approaches and moods are what make them different. Consider some of the conversations Catherine and Virginia have about their exes, in addition to some of the flashback scenes of Catherine and Virginia's vacations from years ago - both can become quite comedic, even if they are heavily built on monologues. The difference with this film is that Perry interjects copious amounts of tension into "Queen of Earth," and it's tension that you could cut with a knife.The funny thing is Perry doesn't capitalize on any effects here that the tension could build to: no cheapshots, no reveals, no jumpscares, and nothing of blatant conventionality. He allows the characters to operate in their own spheres with their own ideas and it's when we see these spheres clash that the tension begins to surface, in addition to some beautifully low-key piano music composed by Keegan DeWitt. This is a film with the plot and character structure of a drama but the cinematography, pace, and tension of a horror film.Catherine Moss deserves an Oscar for her completely electrifying performance as somebody so mentally unstable that she herself can barely stand up in some scenes. Moss's facial expressions, long stares into nowhere, and sporadic emotional tirades that are defined solely by the quiver in her voice and the position of her eyebrows are absolutely mesmerizing and the work of a true character actress. Alongside her is Waterston, who has an equally challenging role, as the reciprocal of Moss's character's often hurtful attacks and accusations. Waterston has to respond to Moss's viciousness in a believable way and she handles the task nicely, especially given her often thankless position in this film.At the end of it all, however, in its examination of depression and erratic behavior stemming from depression, "Queen of Earth" also shows the horrors of codependency and the result of spending so much time investing in others that you forget to take care of yourself. At times, Catherine isn't as depressed as she seems, but so hopelessly lost and incapable of expressing her emotions. That winds up being the scariest thing of all, beyond any scenario of jumpscare, simply because what's going on inside your mind is your own business and the incapability of expressing it to others leaves you helpless and crying literally for some sort of guidance. For Perry to do this largely without voiceovers or long-winded monologues once again shows his talent as a writer/director. "Queen of Earth" looks at the horrors of the human condition beautifully and, in addition to all the tension, atmospheric dread, and ominous music Perry throws in the film, winds up being one of the most mesmerizing and haunting films of the year.
Eerie, brilliantly acted, and painfully haunting (by Red_Identity)
First off, I want to say that I hate the poster for this. The poster is the reason that I expected this to be completely different. It made it look like a Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf/Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? type of film, and since I didn't see the trailer, that's what I thought. I thought that it would be this really over-the-top, loud piece of work, and to the contrary, it's very similar in tone to Martha Marcy May Marlene, one of my favorites of this decade so far. I still definitely want to process my thoughts on it, especially because I'm not sure how great <more>
it is. I don't think the film will be without its supporters, but will it have lots of detractors? You bet, not only in the outside world but on this board as well. From the start the film puts you at a distance by making you question everything you're seeing. Everything seems off, and you don't quite know exactly how these two women ever came to be friends in the first place. This unsettling atmosphere is all that is needed to entrance you into everything that will happen in the film. But then, I'm not sure how much of it was earned. The film's greatness is something that I will need to ponder more.What I don't need to ponder more, though, is the brilliance of Elisabeth Moss here. On TV, she's given one of my all-time favorite female performances in one of my all-time favorite series, Mad Men, so that in itself made me love her. Then last year came along, where she shined in The One I Love funny how the setting for this and that are almost identical and even moreso in Listen Up Philip which left me cold and where she was easily the best, only great, thing about it . More of a fan. Now this. A very, very tricky role because there are so many different facets, but she is mesmerizing. Most of her performance and the film is silent and reflective, and unsurprisingly she excels at that. Her bigger scenes, of which there aren't many, are more surprising because I'd never seen Moss do much of that, definitely not on Mad Men. She's so eerily brilliant and painfully realistic. I thought this would be a fun performance to watch, didn't expect it to be so painful. Not because of the quality, but because this feels like a real person. The film plays in the border of surrealism and realism and still manages to be really effective.What I don't get the hype for, though, is Katherine Waterston. She was really good in Inherent Vice, but I feel like she made a greater impact than the role required there and less of an impact than the role called for here. I couldn't help but imagine a more impactful actress in that role. She can be good, but a lot of it also comes across, I don't know, hollow? Definitely nowhere near what Moss does, even if we were to compare the first act of the film where both are equal in screen time and material.Really impressive work overall.
Going Mad Along With the Main Character (by Moviegoer19)
I just finished watching this film and came here to read what other people thought about it. I was left with several impressions, perhaps the first being an echo of what's been written in other reviews which is that Elisabeth Moss's performance is stunning. She's a very interesting actress to me, in that her looks are not conventionally pretty and yet she has an awesome face because of the emotion she's able to convey through it. She strikes me as someone I would like to know, and that's not something I experience often. There is something so human and compassionate about <more>
her. But now I'm not sure how much of this is her and how much is the role she played here.Throughout much of this film I was almost eager for it to be over. It is slow, with many long shots of both the two main characters, and inanimate things such as stairs, paintings, and the lake. I especially like what another reviewer said which was something like the script and plot of this film are in the drama genre, whereas the setting, and music are like a horror film. Sorry for the paraphrasing. There was such an underlying tension throughout, which I'm sure was intended. I'm not so sure whether the confusion I felt throughout much of it was also intended. For example, I couldn't really understand the relationship between Moss's character and that of Katherine Waterston's. There seemed to be so little good feeling between them, that it was hard to understand why they were even spending time together, beside it being their annual ritual.In the end, and this is the kind of film I feel the need to see again, I'd say it was really about a woman's descent into madness. Through the flashbacks we learn that Catherine Moss had some problems before the death of her father, but that during the week that the film depicts, she unravels, and gets "worse" every day, that is, more paranoid, manic, and depressed. The ending was also ambiguous; she has gone, but the question of where, lingers. Did she ultimately jump into the lake and commit suicide like her father, or did she get herself together and leave a bad situation. I wonder if anyone besides the writer and director knows.If you're into psychological films, films about madness, or just enjoy watching great acting, definitely catch Queen of Earth.
Female-driven psychothriller in the tradition of the best (by drownnnsoda)
"Queen of Earth" follows a week's vacation at a summer house between two friends, Catherine Elisabeth Moss and Virginia Katherine Waterston . Catherine, who has recently lost her artist father to suicide, is emotionally numb and fragile, and a rift begins to form when a male neighbor Patrick Fugit joins the friends, which propels Catherine into psychological breakdown."Queen of Earth" is a referential throwback to a myriad of feminine psychothrillers of the sixties and seventies, painted in broad streaks of Bergman and Altman, as well as making nods to obscure <more>
horror films of that era, including "Carnival of Souls" and "Let's Scare Jessica to Death." Writer/director Alex Ross Perry is clearly a student of these films, and in many ways, "Queen of Earth" seems to be a love letter to those films.The film has a stark visual flair to it, with heavy use of closeups, continuous takes, and photography of the rural woodsy landscape, all of which accentuate atmosphere and tension. The script is thin yet rich in subtext, which provides the actors ample material to really sink their teeth into. Elisabeth Moss's performance is eerie and dynamic, while Waterston's is sincere and understated. As a meditation on the ennui and turmoil of privileged New England Generation Y-ers, the film offers little that's compelling; however, the darker visual elements and nods to the horror genre lend an absorbing and subtly creepy element that throws what could have been a tired retread of "poor little rich girl" into something far darker and nuanced. The conclusion is ambiguous and the lack of "resolution" will no doubt frustrate some, but the film prevails as a portrait of a psychological meltdown in the tradition of the best of them. 8/10.
A young woman's descent into madness is triggered during a stay at the family vacation home of her childhood friend. I almost didn't watch this film because the title seemed broad and ambiguous. However, after viewing the trailer, I wanted to know why the two female leads had this dark energy between them. I am glad I watched it. It turned out to be a visceral and engrossing psychological thriller The toxic chemistry between the female leads was palpable and authentic throughout the film. This infused the atmosphere with the constant torque of toxic personalities and unpredictable <more>
behaviors. The well-crafted dialogue explored the female leads' perceptions about significant people in their lives including each other. It also expressed their personal beliefs as a result of these experiences. I especially appreciated this aspect of the film. We always find out, at some point, why a character behaves in a certain way. What I always want to know is what mental process did you go through that caused you to act that way in the first place? We get that piece in this film and it does not spoil the story because the logic is flawed in the first place. The result is you get an unfiltered look inside the characters' minds, which is what the psychological thriller is all about. This film allows you to walk through the doors of the females leads' perceptions. To the film's credit, there are no outside forces around to characterize the women's' behavior, mitigate flaws in their thinking process or referee any conflict between them. This dynamic makes their interactions appear seamless and organic as their personalities coil tighter and tighter around each other. This is a solid slow-burn thriller that gets under your skin and begins a slow tingling crawl as you begin to see what they believe.