Chained for Life review – astute satire on actors and beauty | Film

When Mabel (Jess Weixler) asks her fellow actor Rosenthal (a magnetic, brilliantly self-aware Adam Pearson) if he has representation, she means to find out whether he has an agent. In context, this question also works as a direct inquiry about whether Rosenthal, who has a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis that manifests as a facial deformity, has representation on screen. Aaron Schimberg’s wonky, charming satire about the filming of a campy B-movie is full of these kind of confrontational moments. In an impromptu acting lesson, Mabel performs various facial expressions for Rosenthal but can’t quite land on “empathy” (“that looks a lot like pity,” he remarks).

“It is a supreme asset for actors and actresses to be beautiful; it gives them greater possibilities for expressiveness,” reads the quotation from film critic Pauline Kael that opens the film. Schimberg’s loving closeups of British actor Pearson, who appeared in Jonathan Glazer’s Under the Skin, suggest otherwise.

Watch the trailer for Chained for Life.

Source: The Guardian

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