Netflix Now: The Dreams In Which I'm Dying are The Best I've Ever Had - Horse Girl (2020) - Reviewed

What seems to be getting billed as an indie comedy or romantic chick flick is in fact a remarkably creative look at a psychological breakdown from director Jeff Baena (The Little Hours). 

When an everyday woman begins to see and experience strange occurrences, her world is turned upside down. The eccentric Sarah hasn't had an easy life. Wrapped in a veil of sadness, she persists in living her awkward existence at the expense of her own happiness. Slowly and surely, everything she knows devolves into utter madness. Friendships falter. Her loved ones question her motives. The bubble she lives in begins to crack as she's convinced there's a great conspiracy at work. 

Netflix delivers one of their best original movies of the early year in their latest project, Horse Girl. Crossing numerous themes including time travel, alien abduction, cloning, amplified paranoia and fear of the unknown, the film based on a screenplay by Alison Brie and Jeff Baena is a feast for the imagination and treads on some of the same territory we experienced years ago in Richard Kelly's Donnie Darko. When an average woman with a love for horses finds herself lost and confused in an altered, strange time continuum, her life begins to unravel, forcing us to question her reality and her sanity. As the plot evolves, Horse Girl transitions to being the best performance of Brie's catalog and one of the most spot on translations of mental illness we've ever seen. 

alison brie

Hitting the streaming platform this weekend, the film has gone very unnoticed. There hasn't been a big push by Netflix, which is sad. Many times, they'll put out mediocre movies that seem to get their golden treatment. Horse Girl deserves as much attention as it can get. While Brie has been busy building a solid foundation with the hit series Glow, she somehow squeezed in this indie darling, pushing the limits of her dramatic career. Watching the movie twice over two nights to imbibe in the plethora of ideas that are thrown at the screen, it was still hard to soak up all the visualizations and representations that they streamlined into a 105 minute on screen story. 

It's not often that a film can stoke so many ideas all at once without becoming messy. But that almost seems to be the idea behind the overall plot. With so many problems facing Sarah, her life descends into personal tragedy and loss as she can't quite face all the stresses that are thrown at her on a daily basis. Will she find peace? Will she find a way to escape the madness? Or is there a greater counterplot at work that will prove her sanity? In such a short run time, Brie and Baena attempt to answer dozens of questions, all of which seem to go unanswered. And Horse Girl is all the better for it. Sometimes we don't need a response for every mystery in a film.

If you're looking for a change and want to see Brie break from the current trajectory of her career, this is it. She is simply astounding in Horse Girl. I can't suggest this one enough. It has cult status written all over it. Don't wait. If you're a fan of the aforementioned Donnie Darko, we suggest this one on Netflix NOW!

-Chris George