This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
ScreeningNotes’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
The struggle here involves jumping back and forth between Sarah's internal, subjective perspective and external, objective reality, which can be frustrating as a viewer, but maybe that's what psychosis feels like? Maybe the film is, at its heart, just a sympathetic portrayal of psychosis? The ambiguous perspective makes this experience more compelling, makes the character's interiority more convincing, but it simultaneously makes the narrative unsatisfying, because nothing is tethered, everything is fundamentally inconclusive.
If we take psychosis as the one foundational tether, though, that kind of works, right? Explaining Sarah as psychotic makes the aliens comprehensible (whereas accepting the aliens doesn't *really* make Sarah's mental illness any clearer), but, so, then what? If it's a movie about psychosis, what is it saying? Is it merely a portrait of what it feels like to be psychotic, to be fundamentally uncertain of the objectivity of your own perspective? Because in that case, I suppose it's effective, but is it satisfying?
Is ambiguity antithetical to satisfaction? That might be the case for some people, but it's certainly not for me; I mean, Under the Skin was one of my favorite movies of the decade. And I didn't love this the way I love Under the Skin, but why not? Just because I don't particularly enjoy the anxiety of awkward social situations? Because it's too close to my everyday life? Shouldn't that, if anything, make this *more* compelling, because it speaks *too directly* to my personal, immediate experience of reality?
To what extent should I evaluate my own negative emotions as the positive outcome of a piece of art? Some art is intentionally uncomfortable, after all, and maybe that discomfort speaks to some essential part of the experience of psychosis. And it's not just psychosis, it's a part of any anxious psychology. It's the discomfort of struggling to know if what you're experiencing is “real,” if it exists outside your own experience of it, or if it's just the result of your own skewed viewpoint, of your own pathological perspective.
The struggle here involves jumping back and forth between Sarah's internal, subjective perspective and external, objective reality, which can be frustrating as a viewer, but maybe that's what psychosis feels like? Maybe the film is, at its heart, just a sympat