If you loved Aubrey Plaza in Ingrid Goes West, tuning into Lawrence Michael Levine’s Black Bear is an absolute must. Plaza brings her unmistakable presence to this unsettling lake house-set film within a film – if that’s what you can call it. Truth is, at each twist and turn of the story’s direction, your less and less sure about what you’re watching. But therein lies its beauty.
Plaza stars alongside Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gavron whose characters become entwined in a love triangle, though our orientation on it, and what is real and what is fiction, shifts like sand as the story unfolds. Black Bear is satirical, irreverent and stingingly funny; its constant flux between the realistic and surreal delivers a playful take on the nature of trust and jealously, as well as the self-indulgence and of the artistic process itself.
We had the pleasure of speaking to Levine about how the film’s concept came to him in a fever dream, his troubled hunt for the perfect lakeside location and why Plaza in particular is such a unique actress. He also shared with us, while the story doesn’t have a meaning per se, it explores the idea that confronting the darker sides of ourselves can ultimately be liberating and a force for good.
By Sarah Bradbury. First published on The Upcoming on 23rd April 2021.
Black Bear is released on demand on 23rd April 2021.