In the movie Madeline’s Madeline 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 spirals out of the rehearsal space and rips through all three women’s lives.
Writer/director Josephine Decker has long been an independent filmmaker to admire, utilizing a welcome expressionistic approach that imbues her subjects with a vibrant sense of urgency. Anchored by a commanding performance from newcomer Helena Howard, Decker’s exploration of the thin lines between illness and artistry displays a rare sensitivity for capturing the struggles of discovering a sense of one’s self that defies easy narrative categorization.