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Queen of Earth 

Wednesday, Dec 30 2015

After having opened this past August in more civilized film markets, Alex Ross Perry'sQueen of Earthis finally playing in San Francisco, and it's about damn time. Catherine (Elisabeth Moss) and Virginia (Katherine Waterston) are two old frenemies spending a week together at Virginia's family's lakeside house, while Catherine unravels after the death of her famous-artist father and her subsequent dumping by her boyfriend James (Kentucky Audley). Also hanging around is Virginia's lover and thorn in Catherine's side, local broheim Rich (Patrick Fugit). Quite frankly, this film deserved the wider release given to the more heavily hyped and superficially similarI Smile Back, which was also about a woman losing her shit in the most spectacular way.ButQueen of Earthsurrounds Elisabeth Moss's mesmerizing performance with an actual movie, a low-key homage to Euro-horror films — complete with an appropriately thrumming and discordant score. And it finds a terrible beauty in its protagonist's madness, rather than just punishing the audience with it à laI Smile Back. Queen of Earth's characters often speak exactly what they're feeling in a way that might qualify as sloppy screenwriting in any other context, but here it adds to the sense of vaguely European surreality, particularly as the undervalued Elisabeth Moss cuts loose. She and her tear-streaked makeup rule the screen. Sherilyn Connelly


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Sherilyn Connelly


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