Antarctica opens with the two main characters, Kat (Chloë Levine ) and Janet (Kimie Muroya), musing on how ridiculous happy people are after hearing a high school classmate waxing lyrical about going on a car trip. They conclude that since nothing has ever made either of them so high on life, that they are doomed. This, and many other delightfully snarky moments, make for one of the most authentic coming-of-age comedies in a long time.
The Gen-Z female outsiders in Antarctica are smart, aggressively middle-class young women trying to survive high school in a suburban American bedroom community, surrounded by less aware students and parents. They feel like they are taking on the walking dead daily. Janet notes that the world is tougher if you’re smart but not rich.
“… Janet is drugged, she has surreal experiences, believing she’s met a lovely time-traveling boy…”
As adulthood looms, Kat has grown into a slim, traditionally beautiful young woman with a polished personal style. Janet, on the other hand, is overweight. That, plus her general grumpiness, puts her even further outside the mainstream. She’s hurt and angry, but she doesn’t wallow in it. In fact, she uses that energy to power her way through a life that doesn’t make openings for her. She makes them for herself. Janet announces herself through a wardrobe of subversive t-shirts, one of which just reads “No.”
Their friendship is tested when they are separated. Janet beats the sh*t out of Stevie D (Steve Lipman), who’s tormenting Kat online after she has an ill-advised tryst in a car with him on Halloween night. Kat’s neurotic mother sends her away to sex-addiction rehab. Janet is forced to take a “lady problems” drug that muffles her anger and dulls her senses to the point that she describes it as “tripping my tits off.”
While Janet is drugged, she has surreal experiences, believing she’s met a lovely time-traveling boy in a spacesuit named Rian, with whom she falls in love. Kat is imprisoned with so-called sex-addicts, who seem more like just garden-variety perverts with impulse control issues, in a rehab house far away.
"…a rare gem that stands as one of this year's best."