Black Bear Review: The Film Starring Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott, Sarah Gadon Is A Puzzle Better Left Unsolved

·2-min read
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A bear plays an important part in this un-bear-able film about three people, a couple and their guest a filmmaker-actress, locked away in the wilderness talking about love life cinema sexism and gender roles over drinks as the logs in the fireplace crackle the threesome’s conversation, hisses with smothered energy, passions run high and, well, the husband finds himself ensnared in the guest’s seductive embrace.


Okay, time to wake up. Now begins the second part of the wild trek into the wilderness. We now see that the scenario we saw previously is now being filmed. So this becomes a film within a film and not a very interesting one at that. Black Bear tries too hard to be a noire-realistic kind of mishmash where one protagonist’s experience in one section of the film becomes another version of the truth in the hands of a director in the film, played by Christopher Abbott, who was the cheating husband in the first section.


Are you confused by the plot? You have every right to remain silent as somehow you are made privy to this criminal proceeding calling itself a film. It’s not that I didn’t point out. But to get to it requires the kind of calculation and concentration that this film doesn’t warrant.



Apart from the affliction of excessive esotericism and a distinctly pretentious heart that beats wildly at the core of the tempest-in-a-teacup brew, Black Bear also suffers from deep-rooted sexism bordering on sadism. In the second, film-on-film section, the director tells his actress (Sarah Gadon) to fake an affair with him so that his wife who plays the wife in the film that he’s making, would show real jealousy on screen


The catch here is, the director and the actress are actually in an affair in this colossal letdown of a film that treats the conventional romantic triangle as a bizarre playground for experimentation.


I came away from the Black Bear totally uninvested in the messy meditation on marital machinations where everything comes apart, nothing stays. Except for a bitter aftertaste of having tasted something that you are sure won’t agree with you.


Directed by Lawrence Michael Levine Black Bear gets 2 stars.



Image source: Instagram/sarahgadon,youtube/momentumpictures/amazone


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