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An Exploration of Narratives in “Madeline’s Madeline”

In Friday night’s screening of the drama Madeline’s Madeline at 3S Artspace, ideas of narrative, metaphor, and exploitation were explored.

The film’s teenage protagonist, Madeline (Helena Howard), is deeply involved in a local theater group run by Evangeline (Molly Parker). At home, Madeline suffers a dysfunctional and deeply disjointed relationship with her Mother Regina (Miranda July). Throughout the film we come to know that Madeline is not only the result of familial trauma, but of mental illness, too.

As the theater group continues to look for the focus of their workshop, Evangeline takes a special interest in Madeline. Soon, we find Madeline’s personal life being acted out on stage. What Evangeline perceives as good acting increasingly becomes hard to distinguish from reality.

The threads of Madeline’s life that Evangeline weaves into the theater workshop become more and more intense and trying on Madeline. Madeline’s deepest trauma’s are put on display in an emotional and troubling scene when we come to realize that Evangeline’s interest in Madeline has become exploitative. .

We are left to wonder what it means to appropriate another’s experience and tell a story that is not ours.

Madeline’s Madeline is directed by Josephine Decker, produced by Krista Parris and Elizabeth Rao, written by Josephine Decker, Donna di Novelli, Gail Segal, Sharon Mashihi, and Alexandra Tatarsky, and stars Helena Howard, Molly Parker, and Miranda July.

Festival goers can see this film again Saturday evening at 5:35 p.m. at the Music Hall Loft.


By Steph George


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