Thursday, October 26, 2017

Movie with Abe: Maya Dardel

Maya Dardel
Directed by Magdalena Zyzak and Zachary Cotler
Released October 27, 2017

Leaving a mark on the world is an important consideration for many people, especially those who consider themselves artists or writers. Fame can be fleeting, and once a person is gone, only their reputation and their work lives on for people to remember them. Choosing the moment at which one ends their life allows that person to determine, or at least contribute to, how people will recall them and what lasting impression they want to leave in their final days.

Maya Dardel (Lena Olin) is a famous and renowned poet and novelist living in Northern California. After she announces on National Public Radio that she plans to end her life and seeks male writers to compete to become the executor of her estate, she is visited by a number of men who are completely unprepared for what they encounter - a woman seeking control of what remains of her life and the people that she lets in to it. Through many lengthy conversations, and rather explicit sexual experiences, Maya takes what she wants from her applicants and shares only what she specifically selects with the new men vying for control of her legacy.

Some movies are defined by the action they contain or driven by their plot. This one relies almost entirely on dialogue. It’s reasonable to estimate that Olin speaks for a good three quarters of the film, going into detail about her perspective on something and what it means or chipping away at the intellect or skill of a man who has come hoping to impress her. At times, it’s difficult to stay engaged and follow what she’s saying, and the level of energy in the movie as a whole is extremely low. As a thought-provoking meditation on what success and fulfillment mean, this film has plenty to say, but it’s a subject that might be more suited as a play or even a one-woman show.

Olin is an Oscar-nominated actress from Sweden whose credits in America include “The Unbearable Lightness of Being,” “Enemies, A Love Story,” and the TV show “Alias.” She commands this role and this film, outperforming every person she shares scenes with and creating a memorable, complex, unlikeable protagonist almost bored with the mundanity of being alive. Relying on one actress to keep a film interesting for over 100 minutes is an arduous task, and this lackluster and unexciting film suffers from severely slow and directionless pacing. Its main character might be interesting, but unfortunately the movie really isn’t.


No comments: