New Sci-Fi Releases: Imitation Girl (2018) - Reviewed

Imitation Girl (2017), written and directed by Natasha Kermani, is a character driven drama with a sci-fi twist laced with meaningful esoteric dialogue, an intriguing cast of characters, and gorgeous cinematic backdrops.

The film alternates between the two protagonists played by the talented Lauren Ashley Carter. The film is beautifully edited and transitions smoothly between the two main characters - Imitation Girl and Juliana (Jules) Richardson aka Juliana Fox set against the backdrop of New Mexico and New York City respectively. In a sense, one can classify Imitation Girl, as a coming out film, for Imitation Girl experiences a constant barrage of firsts. And it is a well-crafted storyline evoking the doppelganger and its sinister connotations. The transitions between the two protagonists weave themselves throughout the film set against the backdrop of New Mexico and New York City, creating dramatic tension and suspense. If you want to find out what happens to Imitation Girl and Juliana, well, you've got to see the film.

Saghi, played by Neimah Djourabchi, finds Imitation Girl and brings her home where she is lovingly cared for by himself and his sister, Khadar, played by Sanam Erfani. They give stellar performances and their humanity shines luminously in the film as does Imitation Girl's rapid transformation into a fluent Farsi speaker.

The complexity of Juliana's life plays out in the film. Although she is more than her job and her lifestyle choices, they take center stage in the narrative of the film, and wreak havoc for her personally. Unlike her twin, she resonates existential angst, and the film begs the question, who hasn't self-medicated themselves with drugs, alcohol and sex to escape the monotony, sordidness and harshness of one's existence.

One of the most powerful scenes in the film is Juliana's monologue as she addresses the reflection of Imitation Girl looking back at her in the mirror of her New York City dressing room. Another is Imitation Girl and Saghi in Saghi's bedroom when Imitation Girl acknowledges that they are both strangers in a strange land.

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It is such an intriguing film for it poses relevant existential questions about the meaning of life. I really liked how Kermani frames and contextualizes her two protagonists in the intimacy of enclosed spaces incorporating mirrors to allude to the depth of the ego. I loved watching a film shot within a film and the cinematography and cut aways of New Mexico and New York City which serve as a backdrop to the narratives. I really liked too the ethereal soundtrack which sets the tone for the film.

It's a fascinating film, well-acted, well-written, directed and shot. I highly recommend it. 

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-Stefan Chiarantano