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Elisabeth Moss, the star who caught the world’s attention in Mad Men before dominating awards seasons with The Handmaid’s Tale, stars in a fantastic new indie movie from writer/director Alex Ross Perry called Her Smell. The film will take you for a ride, though it will not always be a pleasant ride, because most of it is unpleasant by design.

Her Smell is split into five acts that span years in the life of fictional punk rocker Becky Something and her band Something She. Each act has its own ticks, but in all of them, the camera’s movements and the movie’s sound design reflect the mental state of the film’s main character. The problem is that Becky is an addict, and her mind is not a comfortable place to inhabit for more than two hours.

The first act sends you into Becky’s headspace without much introduction, and it’s sort of like spinning as fast as you can on a playground roundabout before being thrown into dimly lit chaos. Sound throbs into the tightly confined backstage areas of a concert venue, and Becky rattles from room to room spewing nonsense and picking fights. From there, the movie has prepared you to ride Becky’s wave of reaching rock bottom and her attempt to claw her way back into the light.

Segments of the movie are enough to throw you into a fit of anxiety, but it’s only because Perry found a way to tell a story of addiction only possible in film––one where our senses are overwhelmed and we can witness the chaos firsthand.

Segments of the movie are enough to throw you into a fit of anxiety, but it’s only because Perry found a way to tell a story of addiction only possible in film––one where our senses are overwhelmed and we can witness the chaos firsthand. Her Smell is a great, unpleasant movie that will drag you through the mud. It’s also a tremendous feat of filmmaking.

I’m Evan Rook. 

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