(I) (2020)

Critic Reviews



Based on 17 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Brie’s performance is open and honest and disturbing and funny and lovely and resonant. The work is so good and so convincing that even when Sarah is spouting the craziest of her mad theories, there’s a small part of us that wonders if Sarah’s truth is the real truth. We certainly believe SHE believes.
It exists in its own little world, blending genres with surprisingly strong results. What starts off seeming like a quirky rom-com quickly morphs into something far more disturbing, and strange.
The transgressiveness of Baena and Brie’s strange and sorrowful Horse Girl, is in how it turns the simplistic, inauthentic tweeness of the generic, quirky indie comedy in on itself to produce a rare and piercingly compassionate exploration of the sorts of madness that come from intense loneliness, and the intense loneliness that comes from being regarded as mad.
The sincerity that Brie brings to her full-fledged embodiment of mental illness is major, and in turn helps Horse Girl overcome its tricky storytelling.
Ostensibly, this is a tragedy about mental illness, and the way that someone can slip through the cracks in society without family, friends and a network of support. But Horse Girl is far more subversive and playful than just that, allowing for Sarah’s peculiar reality to envelope our own.
Whatever exactly is going on (a misguided few will debate the literal meaning of closing scenes), the film is more serious than it appears; though odd and not for everyone, it's an ideal vehicle for Brie, using qualities she's displayed in excellent small-screen roles as an entry point to disturbing inner states.
Brie’s delicate performance nearly rescues both Sarah and “Horse Girl” from falling into the awkward traps it sets for itself, hedging on the tough stuff in favor of weirdness for its own sake, faux-arty style over anything that could offer the slightest interest in healing, for either its star or her story.
Brie’s work is worth celebrating, and the ambition of the project is admirable. But a picture like this has to float on more than good intentions.
Horse Girl’s big weakness is that it can’t decide how much ambiguity to provide its central character, or how seriously it wants to present Sarah’s breakdown (or, if you read the film another way, her awakening).
Horse Girl delves into a troubled mind only to get lost among its oddities, forgetting the sensitivity that drew it there in the first place.

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