An internationally respected poet announces she is going to kill herself and needs an heir and executor. Young writers drive up the mountain to compete for the position and are challenged intellectually, emotionally, and erotically.
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★★★½ review by scott aa wilson on Letterboxd
Maya Dardel is going to kill herself. Believing her most artistically productive days are behind her, she decides to audition young male writers to whom she can leave behind her earthly possessions.
In a masterful turn from Lena Olin, Dardel is assertive, sexual, and has seen it all before. The men (or boys) are modern, homogenised, and Dardel just wants some authenticity – someone who writes because they absolutely have to write it down.
It’s a cross-generational meeting of minds and cultural scenes, with a lot of philosophical and artistic pondering as Dardel and her would-be heirs get a feel for each other (figuratively and literally).
It won’t be for everyone, but like Elle, it’s a film commanded by an older woman, a demographic often ignored on screen. Olin is balletic as she takes Dardel down an unchartered path towards death and cementing a legacy, while looking for someone who she believes deserves what she will leave behind.
★★★★½ review by MaryAnn Johanson on Letterboxd
Its feminist boldness crosses into the exhilarating. This is an unapologetic dare to accept a woman, with all her genius and all her faults — all her humanity — on full defiant display.
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★★★½ review by Rob Dean on Letterboxd
A sensuous yet cerebral film that veers close to pretension but ultimately is a strong meditation on art, life, and legacy. Strong performance by Lena Olin
★★★★ review by Robert Fuller on Letterboxd
Like The Taste of Cherry if it were actually layered and interesting. It feels like great theater and yet is completely cinematic and never once comes off as stagy. Nathan Keyes is maybe not the best actor but it doesn't really matter because the role doesn't require much from him, and meanwhile Lena Olin is doing her thing and it's mesmerizing and wonderful. I love screenplays like this, thoughtful and intellectual but not pretentious, and it's paired with some truly lovely imagery and music that somehow convey a boldness and individuality of artistic spirit without actually doing anything inventive or revolutionary. One minor quibble is a scene of violence that's a bit clumsily staged and shot, but no matter -- this is an exciting debut film and I definitely look forward to seeing more from them.
★★★★ review by Hind on Letterboxd
With a more literary approach rather than a cinematic one, Maya Dardel was like a cavernous, intimately verbal copulation with the fierce, melancholy, and tremendously passionate writer within me.
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