Perfect Blue ★★★★★

Hayao Miyazaki usually pads his features out with gentle pockets of silence. Pillow shots. They're usually always pleasent with a grace that leans toward nature or culture in some way or another. Perfect Blue has pockets of silence too, but they're sinister. If you grew up on anime and you're in your 20s chances are you started with Miyazaki so you'll be familiar with pillow shots before watching this movie, but in Perfect Blue they feel wrong. They're used to make us feel closer to Mima, but Kon illustrates that she's being watched or controlled or pushed in one direction or another almost immediately. If you're a woman, or even someone who presents as femme, you're familiar with this feeling of non-agency in each and every situation. Maxmized when you're a pop star or an actor or even if you're just a little more conventionally attractive. We never really own our body. We compartimentalize that and move forward anyway, but to survive is to know, and Mima largely doesn't. The filmmaking gaslights you into struggling to believe what's real and fiction. What's cinema and what's real life? The editing choices do this until you're second guessing yourself in the same way Mima does throughout the entire back half of this movie. Satoshi Kon gives her agency, by forcing us to become her when we watch, by asking us to empathize with everything she's going through both severe and benign. But aren't we just watching? Same as her predator? That's the idea when she's in her apartment and the p.o.v. shot of Mima shifts to outside and we look in. We're as voyeuristic as anybody. Living in the skin of other characters. Even by the end there's no curtain-lifting, revealing safety or easy answers. Is she real? Are any of us real online? We make brands, personaes, and identities out of our own side-shows we bring to social media. This is my life, maybe. maybe. maybe. maeybe.

Willow liked these reviews