Horse Girl Review: This Netflix Film is a Disturbing Depiction Of Descent Into Dementia
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Horse Girl Review: This Netflix Film is a Disturbing Depiction Of Descent Into Dementia

Horse Girl Review: Alison Brie’s film is not pleasant to watch but makes some important points and is quite enriching

Rating: *** ½ (3and a half stars)

Watching an individual lose her mind in front of your eyes is not a pleasant experience. The exceptionally talented Alison Brie, for long in search  of a movie vehicle that would do justice to her presence, here co-produces and co-writes a film that is deeply connected to her own life. Like her character Sarah, Alison Brie has a family history  of  mental illness.

She is able to project the terror of  an oncoming mental breakdown with such ferocious authenticity I  felt I  was reluctantly being sucked into her despair. Unlike other films on mental illness, Horse Girl neither sanitizes  nor psychedelizes the protagonist’s mind-set. The  approach to the gathering storm  of a mental meltdown is  very real, and therefore exceedingly frightening. Ms Brie imbues Sarah’s descent into a muddled hell with distinct clarity.

And then of course, the writing takes care of  rest. Sarah’s casual normal chat with her kind workplace friend (Molly Shanon) leads the narrative into a tunnel of growing darkness. Sarah’s date with a clean-cut  kind-hearted somewhat boring  guy(John Reynolds) preludes Sarah’s descent into dementia. From here on, we  have no clarity as to  he authenticity of what we see. Even when institutionalized, Sarah continues to play mind games with herself and with the audiences.

Are  the  incidents shown in the film really happening? Or is that Sarah’s imagination?  As she descends  into a rambling mess of dreams, delusions and dementia she chills us to the bone. Ms Brie’s transformative performance is a marvel of Nature.

But there is more to this stark and disturbing than meets the eye. The characters around Sara  attain a semi-dream quality  because of her  precarious plummeting  mental health. Are we to trust any of  the people and encounters that we see her going through? Or could she have made it all up? Even the  psycho-therapist she is seen  pouring her  heart to, does he  really exist?

Horse Girl goes deep into its protagonist’s psyche end emerges with a  melancholic but light-toned meditation on reality and its opposite. Who knows which option we select? At the end of the day, reality and fantasy are long-lost siblings waiting for us to mistake one for  the  other. By the end the alien invasion that Sarah  keeps rambling about seems to be really happening.

Too far gone to turn back Horse Girl makes loneliness and depression seem like crimes we commit on ourselves in pursuit of  a meaningful life. This is  not a pleasant film to watch. But it enriches us in ways that we  may not want to be enriched.

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