A few years ago, director Sophia Takal burst onto the scene with her exquisite, unnerving debut, Green, which he co-starred in and produced with her husband, the filmmaker Lawrence Michael Levine. Takal has been working largely as an actress since then, appearing most memorably in Levine’s own Wild Canaries, one of the very best films of last year, but also VHS, Hellaware, and two by Joe Swanberg, 24 Exposures and All the Light in the Sky. With the exception of Wild Canaries, however, none of these movies are quite as profound, eerie, and gorgeous as Green and the wait for Takal’s follow-up to that 2011 indie has not been an easy one.
Well, now, she’s finally back with Always Shine, which had its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it received quite a lot of accolades from critics and audience members alike. The movie stars two of the most imaginative actresses currently working on television – Mackenzie Davis of Halt and Catch Fire and Caitlin FitzGerald of Masters of Sex – as two budding actresses at different parts of their careers, one a mild success and the other not so much. Comparisons to Brian De Palma‘s Sisters have been made but from the looks of the first trailer, which you can take a peep at below, this is all Takal with her alluring use of nature as the primordial realm where basest instincts are indulged. Though this may not have the same marketing machine behind it as something like Loving or Jackie, this is easily one of the most promising films of the Fall/Winter season (click here to read Brian Formo’s praise from the Tribeca Film Festival earlier this year).
Here’s the first trailer for Always Shine:
Here’s the official synopsis for Always Shine:
Two women, both actresses with differing degrees of success, travel north from Los Angeles to Big Sur for a weekend vacation in Always Shine, Sophia Takal’s twisty, psychological drama. Both see the trip as an opportunity to reconnect after years of competition and jealousy has driven a wedge between them,but upon arrival to their isolated, forest retreat, the pair discovers that their once intimate friendship has deteriorated into forced conversations, betrayals both real and imagined, petty jealousies, and deep-seated resentment. As the women allow their feelings to fester, each begins to lose their bearings not only on the true nature of their relationship, but on their own identities.