Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the science fiction dramedy IMITATION GIRL by writer/director Natasha Kermani. To best describe the story, I will use my own plot summary:
“An alien being materializes in the middle of a southwestern desert and takes on the form of a jaded porn star. As she begins to learn about humanity, she becomes curious about the woman with whom she shares an appearance.”
I have to imagine that this role was a lot of fun for Lauren Ashley Carter as she got to take on two very different personalities. On the one hand, she plays a girl who has grown jaded with the world around her as she bounces from one gig to the next. At the same time, she gets to play the much bubblier part of someone enthralled with humanity which allows her to speak multiple languages and stare in wonder at man’s achievement. She breathes such life into both of these roles that it becomes an absolute joy to dissect the different mannerisms that make each part separate.
The supporting cast gives good performances, but most of them are given fairly stereotypical roles. This is especially true of the New York porn star half of the film where really only the former piano teacher rises above the tropes present in every other “life on a downward spiral” movie. She achieves this by seeming less like someone trying to knock the character down and more like someone hoping to bring someone out of the mud. We can see her hesitation as she takes on this task, and this makes her seem more human than many of the other characters in this part of the picture.
On the other hand, the alien doppelganger story is populated by two of the more interesting roles in this film. The Farsi speaking brother and sister take the double into their home, where she soon learns about humanity by watching their interactions. Their seemingly natural conversations carry a great weight to them because the delivery of the lines has an everyday feel. The interactions between these three characters is incredibly entrancing as they have some of the most comic and poignant scenes in the entire piece.
The problem with this feature is not one of acting, but one of a story. Since there is nothing new about these scenarios, both halves of this movie are carried by performances and the promise of the two women meeting. This would be okay if the ending was in any way satisfying, but instead we are left with two of the better characters getting screwed over and more questions than answers. It felt so forced that it seemed as if they just decided to have the characters meet just before they decided to start the credits with little explanation. Given the ideas presented earlier in the film, I will admit that I expected a lot more from the conclusion; so I was left feeling a bit disappointed.
All in all, the ending might not have lived up to the promise, but Lauren Ashley Carter delivers a performance well worth seeing. She is backed up by a good supporting cast with the two standouts being the Iranian family that brings both gravity and humor to this feature. Fans of movies like SPLASH (1984) or LOVELACE (2013) will find this worth a watch.
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