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I just saw the world premiere of this film at the Berlin Film Festival and I was quite surprised. When I got the tickets I had no idea what it was actually about. When I was told it was about a 15-year old girl dealing with puberty I wasn't very happy about it. But then what I saw surprised me. During the first 2 minutes I prepared myself for two hours of overdone artistic cinema. But after some time, I got into it and even got attached to the girl who everybody just calls "Its". However, according to the director, this film may have been shot in only 14 days but, it took them about nine months to edit it. No wonder, since the director Bruce McDonald took the "Fragment"-part of the title by word. The film consists of hundreds of fragments of pictures, each showing different perspectives of the same moment mixing up reality and thoughts and fantasies of Tracy, the 15-year old protagonist. There are only rare scenes in which there are less then 3 fragments to be seen on screen. And the more emotional the protagonist gets, the more fragments appear. So, thus confusing you with just too much information it leaves you overwhelmed with impressions and emotions that are just too plenteous to handle. Off course, McDonald did this on purpose. It's all just a try to visualize what a teen must have to go through in puberty. After a while you get sucked into a world of bullies, disturbed parents, unanswered love, doubts and fantasies, sympathizing more and more with Tracy. Even though it was exhausting to pay attention all the time, I'd say the film is worth seeing (if you have the stamina). I have seen a lot of movies but this one was actually something new. Well, it may be exhausting but when you think of it, wasn't puberty too?!
The Tracey Fragments is a wonderful movie which everyone should all see
for the experience. Most of the movie is split between three or more
different camera angles. This allows the viewer to watch the movie in
many different perspectives. Where this can be confusing at times, I
found it wonderful and unique! I had such a blast watching this movie
and trying to see every frame at least once.
The beginning of the movie will leave your head spinning for a good 20-30 minutes. Picture an empty time-line and as the movie progresses, you get to know a little from the beginning, a little from the end, a little of the middle, and repeat it until the movie finishes. It's bizarre but an experience.
One great portion of the film are the little scenes when you get dumped into Tracey's fantasy world. Sometimes you can tell it's a fantasy and sometimes you cannot. However, this then leads the viewer to wonder if future scenes are real or just a fantasy.
The highlight of the film, in my opinion, is Tracey's 'back of the bus' confessions. Throughout the movie, Tracey will pop in the movie, dressed in a shower curtain, and give a little hint or just some insight into her somewhat confused mind. It gives you a short break from the non-linear chaos of the film and sometimes will give you a chuckle.
All in all, Ellen Page yet again shows how great of an actor she really is. Her acting in this movie blows Hard Candy and Juno out of the water! The movie is all about her and I don't believe that there isn't a scene without her. I find this great because you can truly focus on the main character and her story, rather than any subplots or supporting character development. The Tracey Fragments is a must see film!!
I saw this movie at the Berlin Film Festival and did not know nothing
about it before. There will be people that will call this a
"masterpiece" or "pure art", and there will be a lot more people that
will call this "bullshit". I wouldn't argue with neither of them. If
you want to enjoy this movie, you will have to buy every idea the
director came up with, otherwise you will want to leave the cinema. At
every moment of the movie, the picture is split up into lots of little
pictures, often showing the same scene from different camera angles.
This can be exhausting at times, but it can also be very exciting.
You suddenly realize that you as a member of the audience are part of the film-making process. You are the one to edit to movie, to decide whether you want the see the long or the close shot. I found this a very interesting approach to the process of making a movie. But still, sometimes the film seems to be so random, trying hard to be special and smart. You might have to watch it a second time to really check if there's is a kind of inner logic to every scene. The movie has great moments and is full of original ideas, though sometimes it is only original for the purpose of being original and nothing else. Apart from the interesting picture language, I have to mention the gorgeous Ellen Page, who is - ultimately - THE most talented young actress there is today. I'm looking forward to her future projects.
There is so much I could say about The Tracey Fragments, it is almost
like a really big and scary looking roller coaster, its definitely not
for everyone, but those that like it, love it.
I will start with what i noticed first: the "fragments", the split screen, super impositions, whatever you want to call it, the editing. Its original, but there is a reason for that, all of these constant, different visuals at the same time is exhausting, at first. 10 minutes into the movie all i wanted was a complete shot with none of those extras that you eventually get used to. 45 minutes into the movie though, i was completely engrossed in the story and totally understood the director's reason for all of that stuff. And the reason is simple: it allows the audience to get inside the head of this alone and suffering teenager.
I am a teen myself and I thought that the bullying and the family life and the emotions Tracey experiences are pretty realistic, and flawlessly portrayed by Ellen Page. This is what life is like for some teens, sadly.
The script was, I thought, perfect. It is dark and disturbing and mostly pretty realistic, and most importantly (or annoyingly), it is very disjointed, you watch the story unfold but you don't figure out what is real and what isn't and how it all happened and why until the end.
The soundtrack is amazing, I loved it and it fits perfectly, I am not a fan of Broken Social Scene (who scored the film), but I am definitely going to be looking for the soundtrack when i get some time.
This movie is Canadian, and that makes me proud. This was shot in Toronto, and it was beautiful, they seemed to find the perfect location for every shot, and the director is Canadian, and Ellen Page is Canadian, and etc.
Finally, Ellen Page. I have saved this for the end because she is the best part of this movie. She is one of my favorite actors and the reason why I decided to see this movie in the first place. She is fantastic, portraying the life of this 15 year old Tracey perfectly. her performance was flawless and there was not a moment in the film where I wasn't totally believing her, or cheering on Tracey as we as the audience learn more about her. I could go on forever but simply put, she is so great, so talented.
overall, i found the movie quite entertaining and emotional. while a
bit confusing at times, i feel that it added to the overall effect of
the movie. the closing scene with Tracey (ellen page) walking through
the park was much more powerful because there was only the single shot
and the screen was no longer fragmented. i feel the fragmentation
throughout created the feeling of confusion and panic common to
adolescence. by far my favorite part of the movie was broken social
scene's original score. it blended seamlessly throughout the movie and
effectively directed the audience emotionally and visually.
i would recommend this movie to anyone. it is worth the confusing, scattered scenes and story line. it really takes you on a journey with the main character.
This is an odd film. I like it, and still I can't think of it as a
At first glance, the picture may seem annoyingly pretentious due to its very original picture composition.
And in some ways it IS annoying. But the amazing thing is: it works pretty well. It really does compose the delicate, mysterious tune, which is the nerve of this fine movie.
Some people might think that The Tracey Fragments would benefit from a more explicit epic narrative. But the artistic mist is also the movie's strength, and I certainly did enjoy this mystery. So, give it a chance even if you're a bit amazed by all the flashing frames. It's actually possible to follow the storyline, even if the intentional non-clarity of this flick is not mastered completely.
Having said all that: Ellen Page as Tracey is a very very good choice!
... so I will say it some more. The Tracey Fragments is well acted in that there is very little acting and a lot of re-acting. Ellen Page is her remarkable self... I am so hopeful about her continuing career. Fragment is however everything everyone has said about it. It is hard to follow, but it can be followed, it is a simple story but it holds the attention, it is art, it is pretty, it is crap and it poorly done but I watched it from start to finish... knowing where it was going the whole time... why... well because it is chocked full of humans and human interactions. Beautiful humans and harsh humans. People exchanging hardships and moments of simple pleasure. I can... and often do go on and on... So I would recommend this Film to my friends who like to watch movies for more than a story.
This is my first review ever on IMDb - and iv been here since it
started. But after seeing this film yesterday i just had to leave my
This movie isn't for everyone. A lot of people will actually hate it - dismiss it to the garbage cage in a heartbeat...but for those who truly enjoy the art of movies, this is a gold piece.
At first i didn't think this movies was going to be anything else then just another "split screen" movie... but as we soon realize, this is so much more, and its brilliant executed. As the main character (excellent performance from Ellen page there) gets more and more emotions, they are presented to us in a way of past, present, future and fantasy - all in different small squares on the screens. It made at least me really feel all her struggling with being a teenager who hasn't found her place yet.
Thumbs up for this - it should be a must see, in ever movie class there are - for its visual.
Tracey Fragments is a very experimental film. 95% of the film is shot
with two or more screens. Sometimes it's even split up as much as 100
screens! Not often do you see a film where there is more art in the
editing than anything else in the film. In fact, some of the split
screens act as shattered glass which seemed to be the symbolic meaning
of the film where a girl's life i pretty much shattered throughout the
Tracey Berkowitz (played by Ellen page) is a fifteen year old girl who thought it would be funny to hypnotize her brother into being a dog. She hates her parents and her school mates. She dreams of starting a rock band with the boy of her dreams, Billy Zero. Very independent, she decides to run away from home to look for her brother. there she has her day from hell.
The first thing I'd like to comment about the film is I thought the script lacked. Ellen Page made this movie watchable but I disliked some of the scenes. In fact, some parts were so ridiculous it almost made me laugh nervously as if they were trying to make the movie corny at times. With that said, I'd have to say that Bruce McDonald did a very good job capturing Tracey with the budget that he had. It's obvious that the film was shot with a hand-held camera but it fit very well with the dark behavior and life that Tracey endured throughout the movie. I also loved the score. I read on one of the message boards for this movie that some replied that they loved and hated this movie. I agree. Some parts were so beautifully captured while some seems completely lacked and didn't fit (once again, the lacking script). The movie is exhausting at times but the last thirty minutes began to pick up again and make the movie interesting.
Ellen Page is a versatile actress and I like her a lot more when she plays darker roles such as this movie and her best performance to date, Hard Candy. I did love Juno but I like these type of roles more. The most memorial seen in the movie is when she stares her mom down and points her finger in her face while screaming at her. It's almost freaky but so well done.
If you love Ellen Page, this movie and Mouth to Mouth need to be seen with an open mind. 77 minutes of this film could feel like two hours.
My verdict 6.25/10
If it's true, as Marshall McLuhan has suggested, that the medium is
indeed the message, then "The Tracey Fragments" proves that theory in
spades. This highly idiosyncratic work has as its focal point "Tracey
Berkowitz - 15 - just another girl who hates herself" - a description
that comes straight from the mouth of Ms. Berkowitz herself. Tracey is
a deeply unhappy youngster who hates her (admittedly horrible) parents,
is terrorized by all the "cool" kids in school for insufficient
mammary-gland development, spends most of her nights riding the subway,
hooks up with a psychotic lowlife who turns out to be a drug dealer,
and searches for her little brother whom she's hypnotized into thinking
he's a dog and who goes missing by a frozen river when she's supposed
to be watching out for him. To help mitigate her misery, Tracey also
dreams of having a relationship with a brooding "emo" bad boy at school
and fantasizes that she is a famous, universally worshipped rock star.
But it is not Tracey's story that is of primary interest here; rather it's the cut-and-paste film-making style director Bruce McDonald has employed to create a sense of fragmentation and dislocation in the viewer - intended, obviously, to mirror the highly chaotic and disordered nature of Tracey's world and life. With rare exceptions, the screen is occupied by as few as two and as many as a dozen shots at a time, often portraying the same sequence from slightly different angles or at slightly different moments in time, or portraying thematically related scenes simultaneously. The question inevitably arises, is the approach effective in what it's trying to accomplish or does it serve as a distancing device for those of us who are trying to enter into Tracey's mind and world. I imagine that different viewers will come to varying verdicts on that point.
Personally, I appreciate what McDonald is trying to do here more than I admire it. "The Tracey Fragments," which Maureen Medved has adapted from her own novel, offers many probing insights into the subject of teenage angst, particularly as regards the tremendous pressure modern young people are put under to "measure up" and conform to some arbitrarily agreed-upon social standard. And "Juno"'s Ellen Page gives a stunning performance as the young woman caught in an ever-tightening web of self-hatred (this is, in many ways, the darker side of "Juno," and Page is much less mannered in this role).
But, frankly, the movie probably would have been more moving and involving without all the migraine-inducing imagery which succeeds mainly in throwing us out of the story. In fact, there is only one scene in which the split screen technique actually serves a narrative purpose - and that is when Tracey is hiding behind a curtain while her drug-dealer friend is being savagely beaten by the irate boss to whom he owes money. Most of the rest of the time, the approach feels more like a gimmick designed to separate this film from the rest of the "distressed-teen indie" pack than an artistically viable choice in its own right.
Still, if you can get past all the artiness and visual distraction, you might just find in "The Tracey Fragments" a thoughtful, sensitive and ineffably sad glimpse into a young woman's heart.
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