Black Bear written and directed by Lawrence Michael Levine is a story told
in two acts. The first act sees a filmmaker called Allison (Aubrey Plaza)
arriving at a remote house owned by a young couple, Gabe and Blair
(Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon). Her plan is to relax, recharge her
batteries and try and come up with an idea for her next film. Unfortunately
after a boozy dinner on her first night sexual tensions start to boil over
leading to friction between herself, Gabe and Blair.
The second act sees Allison forming part of a film crew at the same
location. Struggling to cope with the pressures put on her by her director
husband (Christopher Abbot) she begins to break down after she starts to
suspect that he’s having an affair with her co-star (Sarah Gadon).
The jarring jump from the first act to the second act is going to take most
viewers by surprise. Why it’s done isn’t revealed until the very last line
of the film by which time I would imagine most casual viewers might have
given up, but don't, whilst the story might be questionable the acting
certainly is not. Aubrey Plaza is excellent in her role, so good in fact it
makes you wonder if the whole crazy scenario has only been set up to give
Plaza a platform to show off her considerable acting skills.
If there is one thing that Black Bear proves it's that Aubrey Plaza has the
talent and the skill to hold an audience. Plaza is mesmerising in every scene that she is in and easily
gives the best performance of her career.