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'Monica' Review: Trace Lysette Can't Save Andrea Pallaoro's Slow Study of Transgender Alienation

After submitting transparent and liar , magnetic Trace Lysette in Andrea Pallaoro’s Venice entry Monica . This is a very rare example of a trans actress occupying almost every frame of a fictional story. The result, alas, fails to deliver on the promise of the occasion , turning the character’s journey into fodder for the slow exercise of formalism.

As in his previous films, Medeas and Hannah , the director (with writing partner Orlando Tirado) tries to take the tension out of the visual and narrative crunch — a mostly A backstory of static cameras, deliberate pacing, and stingy segments. But Hannah has a superb Charlotte Rampling who seems to invent new ways to embody our immediate misfortune, and Medeas Full of atmospheric, slow-motion horror. These are dull and self-consciously detached pieces – think Haneke lite – but, in their deja-vu art-house approach, they work.


Bottom line Minimalist and rarely noticeable.

Venice Film Festival (competition)
Throws: Trace Lysette, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Browning, Joshua Close, Adriana Barraza
Andrea Parallo

Andrea Pallaoro, Orlando Tirado 1235185580
1 hour50 Minutes

Monica By comparison, it feels like a movie that will never connect. Lisette is real, her regal beauty softened by a touching sadness and silence. But the film doesn’t dig too deep beneath the sultry melancholy surface, and Palo Alto’s handling of the character, especially when it comes to her gender identity, is oddly gimmicky. As to whether Clarkson’s cancer-stricken Eugenia admitted that Monica was her son’s person — as to whether Monica “passed” — a dramatic, almost Almodovar-esque invention in nature, Attempting to create suspense is at odds with the film’s low-pulse realism. It also distracts from the fact that Monica robs her protagonist of personality, emotion or experience.

Attributing this recessive central figure to an archaic combination of tropes and themes—stressed homecoming, terminally ill mother, victimized LGBTQ child—Palaro doesn’t capitalize on any particularly surprising or Insightful stuff. Monica acted like something we’ve seen countless times before wearing a director’s costume.

Formal nitpicking is more annoying than familiarity with the material, as it undercuts the sincerity of the film; Pallaoro is very picky about his minimalist visuals, It’s vanity to be malnourished at the same time for his story and the women floating in it. This imbalance is a miscalculation: pessimistic studies of alienation account for only a dozen at international film festivals; fully realized trans protagonists, less so.

Pallaoro opens with a close-up of Monica (Lysette) on a sunbed, then shows her dodging unwanted attention from a mean ball in the parking lot. So the director centers on the character’s flesh from the start, and the film emphasizes excluding her inner life — and doing its own detriment.

After an unexpected call, Monica, who lives in Los Angeles and works as a massage therapist and webcam girl, gets into her car and hits the road. The boxy aspect ratio hints at her sense of isolation, an impression reinforced by the impersonal nature of her interactions in early scenes – leaving voicemails, absentmindedly rubbing clients’ backs, tourists for the family Photograph. Pallaoro and DP Katelin Arizmendi (Swallow) often turn her head away from the camera when shooting Lysette, or her face is covered by her “

Mane obscures s Julia Roberts locks. This effect is a teasing distance that can also be captured by Her reflections in windowpanes, mirrors, and photographs, or her head cut off at the top of the frame, are realized. Pallaoro never closes the gap between viewer and subject, which is great for a story that ostensibly wants to move us with forgiveness and healing Unfortunate for the movie.

When Monica arrives in a leafy Midwestern suburb (the movie was filmed in Cincinnati), She is welcomed by her brother Paul’s kind wife Laura (a very nice Emily Browning). The reception is made cooler in her spacious, elegant, messy childhood home, bedridden Eugenie Ya (Clarkson) is cared for by the holy nurse Letty (Adriana Barraza), who refuses to take medication and doesn’t want any new people in her space. No one – including Monica – seems inclined to tell Eugene This particular newcomer, Nia, is her own child, whom Eugenia hasn’t seen since she cut ties with her when she came out as a teenager.

Anyway, Monica settles down, takes on some day-to-day nursing duties, reconnects with Paul (Joshua Close), and reconnects with his three kids. She also smokes a lot and stares into the distance. Made a couple of desperate calls to an ex named Jimmy; got moody drinking while waiting for a date who never showed up; and had a one-night stand with a guy tipping her with some pretty scary pickup lines.

Monica certainly avoided the biting confrontation and false catharsis typical of dying parents drama, preferring to overcorrect Mistakes on the side. None of the characters say or do anything terribly compelling, and Palo Alto injects lengthy pauses into their dialogue, so the scenes feel bloated and pointless. The film presents a calm, sobering The exhausted quality of a person, as if performing underwater.

The director’s pushy style and tone are self-defeating. Striking imagery – like Monica’s young Sitting in the car in front of her, the niece and nephew turned to face her, faces frozen in inquisitive glances – coming and going with little change or impact. When Monica couldn’t face Eugenia’s inquiring gaze , Lisette does have a wordless knockout, her eyes moving around, looking for an escape. Seconds later, she’s a child again, powerless in the face of her powerful mother. This is cleared by the film’s narcotic haze only point one.

Hormone injections, sex work, objectification, difficulty finding romantic relationships and being abandoned by family members , Monica is factual in describing the challenges trans people face. But there’s a grim rigidity to the film’s vision that feels like it’s reducing Monica’s trauma.

On the way, Monica is going out for the night. Spray herself with the mist on her face, dance in her room to O-Zone’s ridiculously catchy Romanian pop song “Dragostea Din Tei” (a highlight of the orchestrated drama soundtrack) – close your eyes and shake Hips, smiling calmly – Monica enjoys a moment of private ecstasy as the movie comes to life. And the movie Monica may have been given character space to express the full spectrum of her humanity.

1235199623 Full credits 50

Venue: Venice Film Festival ( Competition)

Production Company: Variant Entertainment, Solo Five Production, Melograno Films
Director: Andrea Pallaoro

Screenwriters: Andrea Palaolo, Orlando Tirado
Cast: Trilisette, Patricia Clarkson, Emily Browning, Joshua Close, Adriana Barraza, Graham Caldwell, Ruby Fraser
Producers: Gina Resnick, Christina Dow, Eleonora Granata Jenkinson, Andrea Pallaoro
Executive Producers: Trace Lysette, Andrei Epifanov, David Schwartz, Steve Stanley, Joe Anna Henning, Stephanie Castagne, Dunn, Anthony Burns, Amy Gilliam, Eric Schneiderk, Christina Sibull, Karen Tenhoff, Eric Cook, Ma Theo Jenkinson, Brian O’Shea, Nat McCormick, Drew Davis, Julien P. Bourgon, Theo Vieljeux, Ali Jazayeri, Viviana Zarragoitia
Photographer: Katelin Arizmendi Editor: Paola Freddi1235199623

Production Designer: Andrew Clark
Costume designer: Patrik Milani
Casting: Emily Schweber
1 hour50 minute THR Newsletter1235199623

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