Madeline's Madeline (2018)

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Critic Consensus: Madeline's Madeline proves experimental cinema is alive and well -- and serves as a powerful calling card for Helena Howard in her big-screen debut.

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Movie Info

Madeline (newcomer Helena Howard) has become an integral part of a prestigious physical theater troupe. When the workshop's ambitious director (Molly Parker) pushes the teenager to weave her rich interior world and troubled history with her mother (Miranda July) into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur. The resulting battle between imagination and appropriation rips out of the rehearsal space and through all three women's lives.

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Critic Reviews for Madeline's Madeline

All Critics (92) | Top Critics (23)

This is cinema most fine.

Oct 4, 2018 | Rating: A+ | Full Review…
Detroit News
Top Critic

One of the best films of the year, if also one of the hardest to initially get your head around.

Sep 13, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…
Boston Globe
Top Critic

Add another name to the list of talented and charismatic young actresses of color making auspicious debuts of late: Helena Howard, star of director and co-writer Josephine Decker's simultaneously attractive and repellent mindjob.

Sep 7, 2018 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

Decker's visually supple exploration may chase its tail in the second half, but at its best "Madeline's Madeline" shifts perspectives and power dynamics seamlessly.

Aug 30, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Letting the audience determine the meaning of her aesthetic choices, Decker shows little interest in creating meaning herself.

Aug 29, 2018 | Rating: 1/4 | Full Review…

Note to filmmakers everywhere: If you want to depict emotional dissonance through relentlessly swirly cinematography, do it sparingly. If you do it for 90 minutes, as Decker does, the audience isn't stirred. It's queasy.

Aug 24, 2018 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Madeline's Madeline

It's not difficult to see and appreciate the intent of director Josephine Decker's Madeline's Madeline, an artsy, indie movie about artsy, indie people, but it is difficult to become immersed in their world when the message about the process and the craft-no matter how vital the performances or justified the feelings-fails to be intriguing to anyone beyond this realm. I love to write, I love the creative process, and while acting terrifies me I find a person's ability to give themselves over to the confidence it takes to embody something other than who they're already trying to work up the confidence to embody completely admirable. And yet, Helena Howard's titular Madeline never comes off as a performer authentic in her love of the craft, but more a young and impressionable soul struck by the mystic intangibility of what being an actor means. Madeline's Madeline tries its damnedest to sidestep ones expectations of any kind of formula within its filmmaking, but in the process of avoiding such trademarks it forgets to create one of its own that both demystifies and enlightens the audience as to why they should care as much about the method as they should the final, prepared version presented on screen. In other words, I just didn't get it.

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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