Delusions of Guinevere movie review: girl least likely

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Delusions of Guinevere yellow light

It’s overambitious for its tiny budget, but hooray for female filmmakers pushing in and taking space for their own stories of sympathetic screw-ups.
I’m “biast” (pro): I am desperate for stories about women

I’m “biast” (con): nothing

(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

Guinevere James isn’t even 30, and already she’s washed up. A former child star who still gets recognized from a series of commercials she starred in as a youngster — she was sort of like Mikey from the old Life cereal ads — she’s living on residuals but desperate to grow artistically as an actor. Which is tough for anyone trying to make a go of it as a creative person in a supercompetitive city like New York, but it may be even harder for her, because her ideas about what’s possible could have been a little warped by her childhood experience. Star Ariana Bernstein and director Joanna Bowzer — both of whom cowrote the film with Niccolo Aeed Moretti and Marina Tempelsman, all newbies to feature filmmaking — bite off more than they can chew with an ambitious tale that really requires more than their tiny budget to bring to fully realized life. But there is eye-opening surprise and power in how they create a space onscreen for a woman to be confused, deluded, and selfish, for her to do dumb things and be called on them by people around her who care about her, to flounder and fail in her quest to figure out how to achieve what she wants out of life. There isn’t a lot of room in our culture for a woman to make mistakes and not be derided for it, and even less sympathetic room onscreen for the likes of Guinevere. Hooray for female filmmakers starting to push in and take that space for themselves.

Delusions of Guinevere is at Cinema Village in NYC December 5th-11th.

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