Shapeless @ Tribeca

In today’s world with all the pressure on women of all ages, but especially young girls, to look a certain way eating disorders are becoming more and more prevalent. Magazines, social media with all its filters, movies, and television. Everyone is young, beautiful and fit. Pressure is everywhere women look.

This is the second film I have reviewed of late in which the lead actress is also the screenwriter. Both are underwhelming. Makes me wonder why? Too close to the project? Divided attention? The fact that women in film have a harder go at it then their male counterparts? Kelly Murtagh not only portrays the lead character but wrote the screenplay along with director Samantha Aldana. In this instance two heads are not better than one.

Trying to make a living as a singer in New Orleans, Ivy (Kelly Murtagh – Looking for Alaska, The Purge) is struggling. It is not easy out there for her. One thing leads to another and she finds herself embroiled in a hidden underworld which comes as a result of her eating disorder. This leads to her facing two options in life – facing her issue or becoming a monster. This is because the harder she tries to hide her eating disorder the more it “feeds” her inner demons. Her life is unravelling.

Body horror. Interesting concept but there is little follow through on that potential here. Most of the problem is that it tries to be a horror film. A little too hard and it is not a good fit. Why do I get the feeling that Murtagh and Aldana were not satisfied just telling Ivy’s story? Settling in for a dramatic story about a woman with mental health issues. Attempts are made to creep or gross us out (some unsettling images of Ivy’s body) but they happen so infrequently that there is no accumulated horror. But even as a straight up drama it would leave the film in a world of trouble as there is no depth. We learn little about Ivy other than her eating disorder. The screenwriters seem to not realize than humans a whole slew of things, not just one.

Murtagh is decent as Ivy. Showing herself capable of bringing the woman’s twisted psyche to the proceedings. What trips her and the film up is Aldana’s choices from behind the camera. Choices which do not serve the story.

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