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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

The Tracey Fragments (review)

If you’re not clear what all the fuss over Ellen Page is about, check out this 2007 Canadian film (which had a limited release in the U.S. in early 2008), a showcase for her extraordinary and challenging talent, and a demanding experience in its own right. Shot between her work on Hard Candy and Juno, this adventurous movie — from Canadian filmmaker (and sometime TV director) Bruce McDonald, based on a novel by Maureen Medved — gives us 15-year-old Tracey Berkowitz, “just a normal girl who hates herself.” McDonald depicts her adolescent self-loathing with striking insight through multiple split screens for the entire running time of the movie, multiple perspectives — some imaginary, some real, and some about which you can’t be sure — on a few terrible events… though, of course, those terrible events may be only exaggerations of her teenage angst. It’s rare to see a film that illustrates in such a profoundly disquieting way adolescent confusion, or one that is so shrewd about the experience of teenage girls. And Page is, needless to say, a powerful presence, so supernaturally assured in her onscreen insecurity that it’s breathtaking. Extras include making-of footage; entries from the Tracey: Re-Fragmented contest, in which amateur filmmakers were invited to reedit material from the film into music videos and other short films; and more.

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watch at home

MPAA: rated R for strong language throughout, some sexual content and violence

viewed at home on a small screen

official site | IMDb

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