Posts Tagged ‘“Her Smell”’

Elisabeth Moss

“HER SMELL” My rating: B-

134 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Elisabeth Moss so desperately throws herself into every role that even in a mediocre movie she’s worth watching.

In “Her Smell,” writer/director Alex Ross Perry’s study of a female rock star in terrifying decline, that means spending 90 minutes watching Moss sneer, spit, snarl and growl her way into near-psychosis.  It’s almost too much.

Moss plays Becky Something, the singer-guitarist-songwriter of an all-female rock trio. The other members are bassist Marielle Hell (Agyness Deyn) and drummer Ali (Gayle Rankin), and we first find them on the stage of a mid-size auditorium wrapping up a guitar-screeching, throat-scraping set.

The setting is the pre-digital ’80s and the music, punkish hair and costuming suggest the early days of Seattle grunge…in fact, the film could very well have been inspired by Courtney Love and her all-woman band Live.

Once backstage Becky refuels  her performance high with booze and drugs and a fuck-you attitude.

She keeps on hand a couple of chanting shamans, latter-day hippies who serve as her spiritual advisers and have the unenviable task of keeping Becky grounded. Clearly they’re not very good at their job.

In this first segment — which like the other scenes plays out in real time — our heroine careens around like a ricocheting bullet.

She’s visited by her ex-husband Danny (Dan Stevens) who brings along their infant daughter so Becky can see the kid before leaving on a European tour. He seems like a decent guy, but Becky has nothing but contempt for him.

The band’s long-suffering manager, Howard (Eric Stoltz), reveals that he’s gone deep into hock underwriting Becky’s misadventures; before the evening is out he will announce that the European tour is off.

Throughout, Perry’s camera (the cinematographer is Sean Price Williams) takes a fly-on-the-wall, damn-near cinema verite approach, observing but not commenting.


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