Black Bear (2020) Cinefest Review: One of The Years Best (Written By Jaeden Noel)




Chaotic, meta & deceitful. Those are simply a few words that would only begin to fully describe Lawrence Micheal Levine's dark dramedy Black Bear. Starring Aubrey Plaza, Sarah Gadon & Christopher Abbott, the film follows Allison (Plaza), a filmmaker on a retreat in an isolated cabin in the woods. While trying to pen her new screenplay, her “inner demons” are brought out as events around her slowly begin to escalate. That is saying the absolute bare minimum about this film, as it’s twistier than a country road and is best to go in blind...not that you really have a choice considering its lack of public knowledge. The film premiered at Sundance 2020 and has made its way to the CinĂ©fest 2020’s virtual fest. I think it’s safe to say this will be one of the best film’s to play here. Black Bear is truly a perfect combination of mumblecore, dark comedy, thriller and metaness. One minute you will be laughing at Aubrey's excellent dialogue and then next minute you’ll have your jaw wide open at the disturbing sequences unfolding before your eyes. Lawrence Micheal Levine's screenplay is easily the best of the year with every single word feeling authentic and real. Sarah Gadon gives a career high performance that feels so raw and powerful. Other supporting roles are great all around too and it’s easily safe to say this is Aubrey Plaza’s best performance since Ingrid Goes West.

The cinematography is exceptional! Beautifully shot and paired with a stunning color palette, the film is truly a treat to the eyes. Every camera movement feels perfectly smooth and allows the film to flow with grace. Although I see virtually positives all around, this is sure to divide audiences for many reasons.

For starters, without a doubt this is going to subvert audience expectations. It even subverted my expectations with its plot description that is simply a tease of what unfolds throughout this journey. Alot of things aren’t directly answered for the viewer and the ending is sure to prove that. However, it’s all done in a way that feels so right and should be left up to the audience to dissect, completely unlike the pretentious “I’m Thinking Of Ending Things”. If you’re okay with having your mind played like drums then this is without a doubt the movie for you.

At the end of the day, Black Bear is a near masterpiece that I wish I could describe more, but is simply impossible due to how significant every second of the 1hr44 runtime is. If you’re in the great province of Ontario be sure to check it out on Cinefest’s virtual library, and if not be sure to check it out when it’s released by EOne! (Whenever that may be).

Black Bear gets a 4.5/5!

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