In its simplest form, “Black Bear” is a surreal black comedy about the creative process.
Directed by actor-writer Lawrence Michael Levine of “Gabi on the Roof in July” and “Wild Canaries,” “Black Bear” speaks to lengths that artists will go to perfect their creative endeavors. Through sardonic humor, minimalist set design and deliberately slippery storytelling, Levine weaves an intriguing commentary on the relationship between an artist and his muse.
Taking place at a remote lake house in the Adirondack Mountains, “Black Bear” stars a trio of powerful performers: Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon. Half dark comedy and half psychological drama, “Black Bear” is a tale of trickery, deception and misconception told in two parts.
The first act of “Black Bear” is heavily strengthened by a snarky political face-off between Abbott, Plaza and Gadon. “Black Bear” relies heavily on sardonic dialogue that makes the audience yearn for their own razor-sharp wit.
It is difficult to explain the switch into the second act of “Black Bear”, mainly because I still don’t fully understand it. But it is precisely this lack of understanding and openness to interpretation that makes a great Sundance film.
“Black Bear” is a film where you enter the theatre with many questions and leave with even more. What is the profound meaning of the black bear? Does the black bear mean anything at all?
Premiering at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival in the NEXT category, “Black Bear” is the epitome of underground film.