Good luck trying to easily simplify Black Bear, a strange, funny, meta film that is partly a relationship movie, partly satirical look at storytellers, and partly something…well, else. I mean, the title isn’t Black Bear for nothing, one plays an odd sort of role in the film by writer/director Lawrence Michael Levine. So while the film is tough to pin down, all of these weird elements combined to be one of my favorite films from Sundance, powered by three great performances by Christopher Abbott, Aubrey Plaza, and Sarah Gadon.
In the simplest terms, Black Bear is about a troubled couple who have gotten away from the city to reconnect with nature, but find their stay disrupted by a filmmaker houseguest looking for inspiration. All of them are creative, in their own ways, and the night morphs into an intense, comic, dangerous power game where reality and fiction are blurred.
I love this movie, did I mention that? Just don’t go in with expectations about what you think it is going to be, because I assure you it definitely is not.
Black Bear will be released on December 4th.
SYNOPSIS: At a remote lake house, a filmmaker named Allison (Aubrey Plaza) arrives to play house guest to a troubled couple (Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon), who have eschewed their life in the city after inheriting a family retreat. Battling writer’s block, Allison sparks a calculated game of desire and jealousy in pursuit of a new work that blurs the boundaries of autobiography and invention. BLACK BEAR explores the complex nature of relationships, gender dynamics, and the erratic nature of love as it traces the conflict between our lust and our longing for internal harmony.