‘Strawberry Mansion’ (2021) | Movie Review | Sundance 2021

In the future, dreams are taxed and recorded by the government. A dream ‘auditor’ James Preble (Kentucker Audley) is sent to investigate an elderly woman’s dreams who have not been registered yet, thereby making them free. As James delves into the dreams of Arabella Isadora (Penny Fuller) he starts to consider whether the dreams he is dreaming are his own.

In this cerebral story, directors Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney delve into cerebral themes about privacy, consciousness, and the things we take for granted every day. The film while being set in the future is filmed and acted like a film that came out during the original Star Wars. That’s true in its coloring and graininess to its production and costume design.

The music is futuristic, feeling at times like a neo-noir tone that I think worked well in some places but was a little overused when quiet tension could’ve been more impactful for me. The acting by Penny Fuller and Kentucker Audley was good, they had good chemistry and I enjoyed their scenes together.

Eventually, we are introduced to the supporting characters that to me felt very forced in their performances. The film toes the line between being taken seriously or laughing at the overhanded performances by the supporting characters. The film takes a big leap into abstract storytelling that I feel may miss the mark for some of the audience.

While there are some acting choices that I didn’t get very invested in, ‘Strawberry Mansion’ is a unique incredibly stylish film that has interesting concepts that I was invested in knowing more about. This is a film made for Sundance and I would recommend checking it out during the festival!

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