Cinema to See: Queen of Earth

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Queen of Earth is a psychological thriller directed by Alex Ross Perry and starring Elisabeth Moss, Katherine Waterston and Patrick Fugit.

Truly a movie lover’s movie, Queen of Earth, employs many of the tropes key to traditional psychological thrillers, saluting icons like Hitchcock, Altman and Polanski. Overall the film is stunning with a necessary blend of absurdist humor and dark epiphanies.

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The plot follows two lifelong best friends, Catherine (Moss) and Virginia (Waterson) who spend a week at a beach house together. Catherine is there to seek refuge after her father’s recent death and being dumped by her boyfriend. Through flashbacks, we see how drastically different the two women’s lives were only a year prior at the same beach house.

Moss’s character, Catherine, was coy and uptight, caught in the middle of an uncomfortable triangle of tension that existed between herself, her (then) boyfriend, James (Kentucker Audley), and Virginia. Now, a year later, the tables have turned. After being dumped by James, Catherine has reached a breaking point and only spirals downward while Virginia, once liberated and jaded seeming, has become her caretaker and the voice of reason.

Virginia is now romantically involved with her neighbor, Rich (Fugit). Feeling abandoned, fed up and resentful, Rich’s very presence grates on Catherine and steadily pushes her over the edge as she sharply plummets into an indulgent insanity.

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Perry does an excellent job dramatizing the way seeds of madness exist in ordinary moments, in which veiled unhappiness looks like real happiness, but go ignored or undetected until tragedy strikes.

The score of the film is delightfully eerie and perhaps one of the film’s strongest stylistic elements. Across the board performances are fresh and captivating. Moss is dynamic, displaying her character’s many emotional and psychological states ranging from sweet to maniacal to dangerous to sorrowful to pitiful and enlightened.

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Queen of Earth premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival in February 2015. It’s been released for a limited time and is now playing at the IFC Center and the Film Society at Lincoln Center-Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center.

Now playing at:

IFC Center
323 Ave Of The Americas,
New York, NY 10014

Film Society Lincoln Center
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center
144 West 65th Street,
New York, NY

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