The term "mumblecore" became sortof derogatory after a while, with multiple indie directors hitting back against that description of their minimal, talk-heavy dramedies. Many of the filmmakers and stars of those movies have gone on to bigger and better things, names such as Joe Swanberg, Mark Duplass, and Lena Dunham. That list must also include Sophia Takal, who is back with the psychological thriller, Always Shine, which features two powerful performances by Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin Fitzgerald.
It was five years ago that Takal emerged with her breakout feature, Green, and since then she has mostly been working in front of the camera, appearing in everything from indie flicks All the Light in the Sky, Supporting Characters, and VHS. Her return as a director has already earned acclaim on the festival circuit where Davis won Best Actress at Tribeca. The film centers on two former best friends, both actresses with different degrees of success, who head up to Big Sur to try and repair their relationship. But things don't go quite as planned due to a combination of jealousy, resentment, and paranoia.
This reminds me a lot of Alex Ross Perry's Queen of Earth, which had a somewhat similar premise. Anything that gives Davis a chance to shine is fine by me, and Fitzgerald has been one of the best about Masters of Sex since it began. Always Shine opens December 2nd.