Skip to main content

Film Reviews The overwhelming odour of Alex Ross Perry’s Her Smell guarantees more than a whiff of exhaustion

The always excellent Elisabeth Moss plays self-destrcutive punk rocker Becky something in Her Smell, the lastest film from American auteur director Alex Ross Perry.

Courtesy of TIFF

  • Her Smell
  • Written and directed by: Alex Ross Perry
  • Starring: Elisabeth Moss
  • Classification: R; 134 minutes

rating

In the backstage scene that opens Her Smell, punk rocker Becky Something viciously insults her bandmates while performing a voodoo ceremony to curse her ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend – all in front of her baby daughter. The next scene features more chaos at a recording studio; the third includes a preconcert fight during which Becky holds a broken bottle to her drummer’s throat.

Those three extended sequences, recorded by a ceaselessly moving camera, make up more than half of this bafflingly unbalanced film by American auteur director Alex Ross Perry (Queen of Earth, Golden Exits). The toxic Becky, played by the always excellent Elisabeth Moss in a tour de force performance that holds passionately to the character’s ugly depths, does find redemption in the shorter second half. Viewers, however, may be so exhausted they won’t see the point in sticking with her – particularly when Perry concludes that the musician’s destructive persona is the mask she must wear to go on stage, an interpretation of performance that plays to noxious clichés about art and artists.

Her Smell opens April 12 at the TIFF Lightbox in Toronto.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter