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Past Films

Madeline's Madeline

  • Starring: Helena Howard, Molly Parker, Miranda July
  • Director: Josephine Decker
  • Genre(s): Drama, Mystery, Thriller
  • Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 93 min.

Madeline (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. [Oscilloscope]

"The film is anchored at every turn by newcomer Helena Howard's big, brash and brilliant lead performance."
- Andrew Lapin, NPR
"In a way I’ve never before seen done onscreen, Madeline’s Madeline fuses triumph and tragedy until the two feel strong and indistinguishable. "
- Ty Burr, Boston Globe
"Decker pushes the action to the breaking point of fury, which the cast—and especially Howard, in one of the most accomplished teen performances ever—embodies with a flaying and self-scourging vulnerability. "
- Richard Brody, The New Yorker
"This is one of the boldest and most invigorating American films of the 21st century."
- David Ehrlich, indieWire
"There will never be easy answers when dealing with the soul-baring act of producing truly great art, but Josephine Decker’s film is as mesmerizing a plunge into the process as one is likely to find in modern cinema. "
- Jordan Raup, The Film Stage
"Ms. Howard is nothing less than mesmerizing. She seems to be giving a master class in unswerving focus and absolute simplicity. It’s a superb piece of acting about acting, and a harbinger of great things to come in this young actor’s future. "
- Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal
"A display of dazzling and disorientating technique, this interior tale of a young girl’s mental disintegration is like falling through a hall of mirrors, with each performance reflecting and refracting a portion of Madeline’s personality as fantasy and reality become impossible to separate."
- Patrick Gamble, CineVue
"Even if it’s a film that will challenge any viewer, it benefits from a strong premise, a story line that more or less holds up, and three knockout performances. Rarely has the acting process been explored in such a cinematically provocative way. "
- David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle
"Watching a once-in-a-generation talent like Howard work at this early point feels like entering a tall building on the ground floor. There's little doubt she will escalate from here."
- Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"One of the year's headiest, most dazzlingly assured moviegoing experiences."
- Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times
"Helena Howard makes a heart-stopping professional debut as Madeline caught between Molly Parker's manipulative acting teacher and Miranda July's differently manipulative mom."
- Bob Mondello, NPR's All Things Considered
"By pushing to the edges of her own iconoclastic vision, director Josephine Decker touches on universal truths rarely found inside a multiplex."
- Elizabeth Weitzman, TheWrap
"A drama of furious disconnection, a cinematic gear-grinding of a working-class family of modest means who seem hardly at home in their own neighborhood and are relentlessly abraded by contact with the deceptively welcoming milieu of art."
- Richard Brody, New Yorker
"Madeline’s Madeline is the product of a lengthy, improvisation-heavy collaboration between Decker and her star, an astonishing teenage discovery named Helena Howard. It is also a skillful and imaginative blurring of fact and fiction, albeit one that insistently calls the act of such blurring into question. "
- Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times