Watching “Women in Film” was the equivalent of sitting in front of a funhouse mirror distorting your reflection back at you. The film is cannibalistic — feeding off itself with such pretention you can’t help but be turned off.
The film concerns three women within various positions in the film industry: the aspiring outsider convinced of her own importance (Portia de Rossi), the brittle producer who’s life is falling apart in conjunction with her film (Beverly D’Angelo), and the casting director who’s life has been enriched with her new blind baby (Marianne Jean-Baptiste). It’s basically a cinematic open wound, each actress busting down the fourth wall with extended monolgues about their place and hopes in the industry.
Is it literate? Yeah, but it’s also pretentious, self-indulgent, obtuse and downright aggrevating. Its an endless litany of Yoga-Tæ-bo, self-help bullshit that pretends to parody such people all the while lending them credence and championing them. It is intelligent, but coldly so, as if watching these lives self-destruct is a form of enlightenment.
Not to say it isn’t daring. All three of the leads perform with emotional honesty (Portia de Rossi’s stalking screenwriter the standout — definitely an actress worthy of more than Pantene ads) yet their characters are hollow. They spit out eloquent observations with such cold clarity; you wonder why the hell we need to watch these three. What little potency is had in the film will fly over you if you’re not intimate with the industry, thereby ostricizing “Women in Film” as a cold, calculated work of elitism. Aside from the occasional witticism, it’s just a montage of hot women puking and pissing into toilets in between pleas of self-indulgence. Writer/director Bruce Wagner is capable of more, and should know better.