SLAMDANCE 2020 FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW! Director Olivia Peace’s Tahara takes place at a Jewish High School and centers on the friendship of Hannah (Rachel Sennott) and Carrie (Madeline Grey DeFreece). This particular morning starts on a somber note as the opening service is a memorial to a fellow student, Samantha Goldstein, who recently committed suicide. But that doesn’t affect Hannah and Carrie at all. In fact, the film takes this somber occasion, where emotions are running high, to challenge the childhood friendship of Hannah and Carrie.
Returning to class, the pair excuse themselves from class to hide in the bathroom. As Hannah is working over a major zit, she’s convinced that she is a horrible kisser and begs Carrie to kiss her as proof. Reluctantly, Carrie agrees, and in the film’s sudden animated flourish, she falls hard for Hannah. Hannah, in turn, thanks her and goes on with her day, leaving Carrie devastated and confused.
“As Hannah is working over a major zit, she’s convinced that she is a horrible kisser…”
For the rest of the film, Carrie begins to discover the truth about her best friend Hannah, particularly with Samantha. Frustrated that Hannah is now ignoring her, Carrie starts making friends with Hannah’s class rivals. Let’s also add that maybe Tristan likes Carrie, just to make Hannah jealous. It all stirs up a swirling bowl of teenage emotions and anxiety in everyone.
When asked about the idea behind Tahara, Director Olivia Peace and writer Jess Zeidman explained they were telling a story about female toxicity. Now, I don’t know much about that and claim to have zero knowledge on the subject, what I do know is a lot about teen narcissism and how it along with a high dose of self-centeredness can wreak havoc on a young teen’s growing identity and interactions.
"…her class handouts about how grief is handled in the Jewish tradition..."