The lead of Crazy Cat Lady, Peach (Clare Gillies), is a strange individual. She has two aspirations: to be a cat or famous. Peach openly admits that her life revolves primarily around the cat she lives with and that she does everything she can to avoid leaving her house. When out in public, she does her best to avoid long, cumbersome conversations and return home, where she feels most comfortable. Peach, to many, is a crazy cat lady and very much an outsider. It is clear that Peach feels the same way about herself, until one day when her mother secretly enrolls her in a support group for women with mental distress. As Peach attends the group meetings and learns more about herself and who she wants to be, how she will achieve her goals slowly begin to make sense. This crazy cat lady will finally understand who she is and that people aren’t as bad as she once thought, but will her life change for the better?
There is no simple way to explain Crazy Cat Lady. Delivered to its audience in black and white, the film’s tone is somber, unappealing, and, quite frankly, drab. On the surface, the film does not have much going for it and presents audiences with unattractive visuals and a story that leaves viewers wondering what the heck the point even is. As the movie progresses, however, it becomes clear what writer-director Danny Lane planned for the audience.
“Peach openly admits that her life revolves primarily around the cat she lives…[she] attends the group meetings and learns more about herself…”
Piece-by-piece, the viewers are able to understand that there is more to Crazy Cat Lady than what appears on the surface, and he’s using this as a metaphor for every part of life. Peach views the world as sort of being in the way and struggles with accepting the things that go on around her. She is an everyman, representing the majority of the world who get caught up in their heads, wishing to avoid conflict, change, and stick to their routine. It takes Peach’s support group to open her eyes to the reality of what is going on around her and allows her the opportunity to see that there is beauty in the difficulties of life.
It’s hard to say that much of the story or visuals of Crazy Cat Lady is appealing; it feels old, worn out, and too simplistic. It feels this way because of how remedial Peach is as a character and how uninspiring her life has been. It’s the hidden, but important, message presented by Lane that makes the film bearable, and, dare I say, enjoyable to some degree. Weirdly, I think Lane is trying to make Crazy Cat Lady as boring as possible to represent a common (mis)understanding of life. Lane keeps his viewers trapped in this nook of what feels like despair and forces them to look beyond what is present in front of them in order to find a way out. His ability to force audiences to find a reason to like his film is bold but pays off in the end. He takes a ultimately successful risk, and viewers find themselves in the midst of some sort of genius. As Lane slowly unveils his plan to present audiences with a worldly understanding, Crazy Cat Lady becomes more interesting, relatable, and generally enjoyable.
Crazy Cat Lady is difficult to fall in love with early on. Still, the movie manages to gain some footing and present viewers with a genuine appreciation for the things happening in the world around them and understand that there is typically more than appears on the surface. Lane is able to find a balance between complete nonsense (Peach and her personality) and knowledge. Crazy Cat Lady is nothing like you’d expect, and, honestly, that’s for the better.
"…present[s] viewers with a genuine appreciation for the things happening in the world around them..."