Well observed character piece in the writing and performances
After a typically strong performance, actress Danielle meets a starstruck actress called Sara, who is starting out on her own path. The two start a relationship, during which time Sara starts to act on stage. In seeking feedback on the weaker aspects of her performances from Danielle, the two expose stresses and personality flaws which exist more generally than the discussion of performances.
Truth be told, Actresses doesn't have an amazing narrative at its core; it is not a story with a nice clean series of events, nor a big finish after a steady build-up; indeed even my plot summary is a bit more concrete than the film itself. Instead, as the title suggests the film is very much about the two characters, themselves, and their relationship with one another. The writing does this really well, producing a script that creates genuine characters who reveal a lot with their interactions and reactions to certain things. In real life it is often easy to get a fairly accurate first impression of someone by observing such things, but in short films it is not too often you see it as well done. Here it is sharp and subtle at the same time – with bigger moments mixed with smaller things which are perhaps even more revealing. The two performances make the most of this, and are convincing and natural throughout – not necessarily people I 'like' but this is not so important.
The film doesn't really produce a strong conclusion, given that it isn't a 'point A to point B' type of affair, but it is engaging for the duration thanks to strong writing which is given via good direction to two strong performers.
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