US, 2016, 85 minutes, Colour.
Mackenzie Davis, Caitlin Fitz Gerald, Lawrence Michael Levine, Khan Baykal, Alexander Koch, Michael Lowry, Colleen Camp, Jane Adams.
Directed by Sophia Takal.
This is a brief character study. We are introduced, in close-up, to Beth, a rather timid actress who has had some success on screen and in commercials, auditioning for makers of a horror film raising issues of screen nudity. Later we are introduced to Anna, an aspiring actress, forceful personality but not having much success, willing to participate in films for no pay for earnest young film students.
The two women decide to go away to Big Sur for a weekend for friendship and for reconciliation.
When they go from meal, a man discusses men’s retreats with Anna but shows no interest in her because she is so curious but is attracted to Beth. Beth also, walking along the highway, is given a lift by a man who takes her home to have a meal with his family, including Jane Adams as the rather talkative mother.
We know that there is something awry when Beth goes for the meal but actually is in the form of Anna. The two of them struggle, each trying to chat the other – and one sees a body being taken away in an ambulance.
So, it would seem that Beth and Anna are two facets of the one person, the outgoing and demanding, the shy and subservient yet angry, with different aspects of success in their lives and careers leading to conflict with one of the characters having to die that the other can live.
1. The title? As applied to Beth? Anna? Career and public image?
2. The Los Angeles settings, movie auditions, apartments, restaurants? The Californian highways, the coast, the Big Sur? The holiday house? Restaurants, the woods, homes? The musical score?
3. The story of Anna and Beth? The friendship? Tensions in the friendship? The weekend for resolution?
4. Beth, the opening audition, the close-up on her, acting the part, the terror? Her reputation and career? Advertising, horror films? Nudity? Her meek attitude and being agreeable? The relationship with Paul? The friendship with Anna, the contrast with Anna?
5. Anna, strong personality, yet not succeeding in her acting career? Her brusque manner, the visualising of her encounter with the man at the garage, the repairs, refusing to pay extra costs? Her stories about dealing with people? Relying on Beth, but Beth not giving her information?
6. The holiday, driving, the house, the discussions? The restaurant and the man doing a line for Anna, her being curious about his men’s retreat, his retreating from her, exchanging phone numbers with Beth?
7. The student director asking about Anna being in the film, Beth saying she could but not telling Anna? Anna discovering the article about Beth in the film magazine? Resentments?
8. Beth, on the road, being picked up, the friendship, going to the house for the meal, the conversations with Summer? The husband? The family?
9. Beth going to the dinner but appearing as Anna?
10. The buildup to a confrontation between the two women, the fight, choking, the rock? Looking at the body being carried away in the woods?
11. The psychological dimension? Beth and Anna possibly being two facets of the one person? The assertive part of the character, the more passive? Success and failure? Conflict? As dramatised? One side of the character wanting to destroy the other? Successful? Future?