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The Independent Critic

Elisabeth Moss, Kentucker Audley, Katherine Waterston, Patrick Fugit
Alex Ross Perry
98 Mins.
Eureka Entertainment


 Alex Ross Perry's "Queen of Earth" Hits Blu-Ray with Eureka Entertainment 

In Alex Ross Perry's follow up to the indie smash Listen Up Philip, two women, Catherine (Elisabeth Moss) and Virginia (Katherine Waterston), who grew up together discover that they have grown apart when they join one another for a lake house retreat.

Queen of Earth is an immensely darker film than Listen Up Philip, a dramatic thriller about the complex fraying of the bonds of friendship and the impact that each woman's unique expressions of misery have on their friendship and their individual lives.

Released in the U.S. by IFC Films, the film has been given the Masters of Cinema treatment by its U.K. distributor, Eureka Entertainment. Waterston was nominated for a Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the film, while Moss was nominated for Best Actress in the Indiewire Critics' Poll. The film proved to be a global success on the festival circuit, though its box-office prospects were always more limited given its overall feel-bad aura.

Elisabeth Moss, whose always sort of bubbled underneath becoming a household name, gives a heartwrenching performance as Catherine, a woman who arrives at Virginia's lake house a fairly broken woman having experienced the suicide of her father months earlier and a fairly recent romantic break-up of a particularly traumatic nature. It's a role reversal for the two women, who'd similarly gathered the year before with Virginia's life in disarray while Catherine's was seemingly onward and upward.

While a film about these circumstances alone could be compelling, especially in the hands of two fine actresses, Perry has in mind so much more and drives it home beautifully with a script that is deep and meaningful and authentic. Patrick Fugit arrives as the literal boy next door, an occasional fuck buddy for Virginia whose presence seemingly agitates the growing chasm between Virginia and Catherine.

Perry, who has been pegged to pen a live-action Winnie the Pooh film, does a terrific job here of building a sense of unknowing and suspense with Robert Greene's editing work slicing through the thickness in the air with precision and intensity. The original music from Keegan Dewitt is jarring and unsettling, sometimes filling in the gaps where Perry chooses to let us hang.

Queen of Earth is the kind of film that is unfortunately all too often not seen in American theaters, an intelligent and emotionally driven dramatic thriller with enough artistic integrity to avoid hitting false notes and to avoid catering to lazy audiences. Both Moss and Waterston are riveting here, though given the most to do it's undeniable that Moss hits a homer that lingers in the psyche' long after the film has ended.

© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic