‘Black Bear’ revolves around a filmmaker and writer Allison (Aubrey Plaza), currently looking for inspiration on her next project. She’s planned to stay a few nights in a secluded part of the country, with a husband Gabe (Christopher Abbott) and wife Blair (Sarah Gadon) currently pregnant with their first child. What begins as a creative retreat to find inspiration turns cerebral and dark in this psychological thriller that I found myself lost and enthralled with.
Aubrey Plaza in a leading actress at heart, and that shows so clearly with her performance as Allison. I was captivated from the start with her character and loved how Aubrey chose to portray a creative lost in their own head. The film is intense and one you need to pay attention to closely. The unreliability of if what you are watching is actually real or just imagined is directed with ambiguity by Lawrence Michael Levine. Lawrence doesn’t intend on explaining much of anything to you in dialogue but with visual cues that trusts it’s viewer to put together the pieces of the plot revealed to them. The cinematography and framing are superb, and supporting performances from both Gadon and Abbott are also very good and believable.
There’s a chance with the bold filmmaking that a lot of viewers will not understand the film in the first viewing, and ‘Black Bear’ encourages a second viewing to really get the rewards from it’s ambiguity. I think if you aren’t looking for anything thought-provoking and just want a thrilling film you won’t find a lot of pleasure in it’s story. But for me this was right up my alley. With great performances and a unique plot, ‘Black Bear’ is a great showcase for Aubrey Plaza and one I would recommend!
I was able to interview Aubrey Plaza and Sarah Gadon back during the 2020 Sundance Film Festival, check them out in the links below!