Writer-director Debra Eisenstadt pushes suburban drama into new territory with her latest film Blush. Part black comedy, part satire, part thriller, it follows OCD housewife Cathy, whose usual control over every aspect of her affluent life quickly unravels after she becomes involved in the chaotic yet intoxicating lives of her sister’s neighbours.
In the vein of the likes of American Beauty and Little Fires Everywhere, the film shatters the illusion of the American Dream; while Cathy ostensibly has everything and gives her all to living out the perfect life, beneath the surface is a barely controlled problem with addiction, simmering resentment and an unplaceable emptiness rooted in a loss of identity.
Wendi McLendon Covey, who most memorably stole scenes playing a very different housewife in Bridesmaids, gives an all-out performance as Cathy. Indeed, in real-life she was herself exhausted after back-to-back shoots with her series Goldbergs, bringing an extra layer of authenticity to playing a woman on the edge. And Eisenstadt certainly puts her through the ringer, with incident after incident taking her downfall to darker places than you’d ever expect.
The satire almost gives way to thriller-esque tension at times, playing out Eisenstadt’s own worst fears about suburban life, addiction and being a mother in brutally dark comic terms. Cathy’s scenes with her sullen teenage daughter played by an exceptional Kate Alberts are particularly affecting.
We spoke to Debra Eisenstadt about casting the film, how the movie subverts expectations and the importance of relinquishing control. She also shared how her own fears informed the story, the long road to getting the film made and her reflections on the challenges of being a mother.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming 23rd February 2021.
Blush is released digitally on demand on 22nd February 2021.