Newcomer Helena Howard delivers a star-making turn in this fierce and vividly impressionistic tour-de-force from up-and-coming indie director Josephine Decker. Much to the worry of her anxious mother (Miranda July), Madeline has become an integral part of an experimental theatre troupe in the city, one that emphasises an intense focus on authenticity. When the workshop's unorthodox director (Molly Parker) pushes Madeline to channel her troubled history into their collective art, the lines between performance and reality begin to blur in surprising and dangerous ways. What follows is an exceptional coming-of-age film framed through an abstracted narrative, and exploring themes of performance, charisma, power and belonging — all while centred on a mother and daughter caught in a mesmerising psychological dance.
“All I can safely assert after one viewing is this: Decker and Howard are formidable talents, and Madeline's Madeline is a must for anyone who cares about the future of this medium.”