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The Congress (2014)

A Review

The Congress (2014) is a challenging movie. I so badly want to recommend it on the strength of Robin Wright's performance and the compellingly plausible nature of the first third alone. But - perhaps because of its ambition, perhaps because of poor stylistic execution - I will readily concede that it is not for everyone.

In the film Robin plays a version of herself. As such, she is relentlessly reminded of the poor choices she has made - both as an actress and as a person. At times these scenes are painful to watch; a cinematic recording of trolling's affects and its manipulative nature. There are real questions raised about what it means to tell human stories with fabricated characters. And if the movie would have been content to leave the story there it would have been great.

Instead, it drives way, way, way off the rails with a dystopian animated psychedelic freak out. At one point, watching Robin make love to Jon Hamm's character while sprouting flora tendrils against a backdrop of crashing airplanes I distinctly recall thinking "What the hell is this all about?" My guess is most audiences will have given up well before that.

See it if: You enjoy hard science fiction where the answers may be elusive and putting the pieces back together is an exercise largely left to the viewer. Or, if you love Robin Wright. Everyone else may find this frustrating.

Seen on: Amazon streaming