Elodie (2019)

There aren’t many good movies or movies at all, for that matter, about the writing experience, and it’s a shame. There’s so much to be mined in the realm of creating and how characters can take on their own lives. “Elodie” is an indie gem that deserves to be watched by just about everyone, as it’s not just a wonderful character piece, but a superb look at the creative experience and the concept of impostor syndrome.

Following an embarrassing public performance, actress and playwright Sabrina Stone is led into the world of her own writing by Elodie, one of her fictional characters. With fiction now a reality, Sabrina must navigate the dark and moody landscape she created, save her characters from the problems she gave them, and come to terms with the person she wants to be.

Star Faith Decker is only one in a slew of top notch performances, as she plays the struggling write Sabrina. Sabrina is a woman who wants success but doubts herself at every turn. Even when writing her crime thriller for the stage she envisions herself as the heroine, but is reluctant to cast herself, as she doesn’t view the heroine Elodie as someone she can be. Ziegler manages to build a fascinating canvas upon which Sabrina is able to drift in and out of. With a sneaky tribute to “Wizard of Oz,” director Ziegler transforms Sabrina’s world from what feels like pulp fiction and turns it in to classic noir. Much of what Sabrina endures involves her trying to find the psychology of her characters and if she wants genuine relationships in her life.

Concurrently, Ziegler also explores the idea of creating and how characters can often taken on lives of their own when we’re in the midst of building the concept of the narrative. I was very engrossed in everything that unfolded, from the relationship with Elodie and Alida (Taylor McGlone and Brittney Watson are great), Sabrina’s frustration as an artist and how it paralleled her struggles as a person, and the ultimate resolution with the film’s unlikely nemesis. That said, the whole Tungsten Dagger works a little too well as a maguffin with no actual rhyme or reason, sometimes to the detriment to the narrative.

Thankfully though, it doesn’t hinder the experience that’s beautifully crafted as both a thriller, and a psychological study. Director Daniel Ziegler masterfully crafts a movie that’s an amalgam of various elements like noir, pulp, crime thrillers, character dramas, and relationship drama and by the end it all comes together so beautifully. Some of the shots in the film are absolutely stunning, and Ziegler really knows how to implement the environment to make Sabrina’s journey feel like one big dream that she’s having trouble escaping. The shifts between reality and fantasy and psychological exploration are near seamless, amounting to such an absolutely unique and hypnotic film.