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Another Me: copy of a teenager

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- Isabel Coixet has adapted a psychological horror novel about the novelties, dangers, insecurities and fears of youth

Another Me: copy of a teenager

Thrillers created for, and starring, young people are able to boast huge box-office takings these days, and thanks to certain franchises, this style of film has gained more ground recently, with interesting titles coming out of places other than Hollywood, one such example being the Swedish movie Let the Right One In [+see also:
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trailer
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interview: John Nordling
interview: Tomas Alfredson
film profile
]
. Now it is Catalan filmmaker Isabel Coixet’s turn – she has adapted a book that turns such a critical, double-sided and difficult age as adolescence into the raw material for a plot that traverses the well-trodden path of horror.

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In order to achieve this, Coixet, who leaves her aesthetic hallmark on the film through her use of detailed close-ups and through the meticulous post-production of the sound, which is a common trait in her filmography, does not abandon the mechanisms or even the subjects that we have always enjoyed – and endured – as audiences of cinema explicitly designed to frighten us: for example, constant fog, an aura of sadness, an empty swing moving of its own accord, a spooky tunnel, broken mirrors and a modern-gothic look. Undoubtedly, this is also intensified by the leading role played by the disturbing Sophie Turner, a British actress famous for her involvement in the TV series Game of Thrones.

Turner breathes life into Fay, whose father (Rhys Ifans) suffers from multiple sclerosis and whose mother (Claire Forlani) is drifting further and further away from the family home. Confused, Fay rehearses a theatrical performance of Macbeth, in which she teams up with the best-looking boy in the class, and it is with him that she has her first sexual encounters. Confusion, fear of the unknown and the very fact that she is gradually turning into a woman – and thus developing her own unique personality – are plunging her into a state of uncertainty, which manifests itself as a ghost: another girl who looks exactly like her.

And then begins a struggle against herself, in which the teenage girl attempts to unmask this double who is chasing, harassing and impersonating her. But... does she really exist? Could it be that she is going mad because of her dire family situation? Or perhaps it is all a result of her depraved imagination? These questions and more also occur to the viewer as the impeccably created scenes of the ninth film by the director of Yesterday Never Ends [+see also:
film review
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interview: Isabel Coixet
interview: Isabel Coixet
interview: Javier Camara
festival scope
film profile
]
unfold.

Coixet claims that she decided to take on the conversion of Cathy MacPhail’s words into film because she has a teenage daughter herself and wanted to depict this key period. And a very laudable mission it would be, too, were it not for the fact that in her efforts she over-relies on the aforementioned ingredients, and as a result, the author’s hallmark ends up being buried beneath stereotypical features. Featuring moments that remind the viewer of a teen version of Black Swan and, of course, Repulsion, Another Me [+see also:
trailer
interview: Isabel Coixet
film profile
]
does not manage to make a connection with the adult audience, owing to its overly ambitious aims and the lead actress’s lack of charisma. Likewise, the script, written by Coixet herself, falls into clichés and makes mistakes that undermine the credibility – which already tends to be quite weak in this type of film – of a story in which, by way of example, the adulterous mother passionately kisses her lover in plain sight of her paralytic husband.

It remains to be seen whether young audiences will be able to live with these slip-ups or whether, on the contrary, they will be more alert, intelligent and, above all, demanding than we adults are sometimes led to believe. Another Me is released in Spain on 27 June.

(Translated from Spanish)

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