Madeline's Madeline ★★★★★

[so this is a long interview story i did with Josephine Decker & Helena Howard, not a review. i'm posting it cause 1. i can, and 2. i'm gonna take every chance i get to rave about this movie and convince people to go see it if and when they can. if you wanna read my * * * * * review, you can do that here. thx]


The story behind one of the most vital and visionary independent films of the 21st century began four years ago, when Josephine Decker woke up feeling like her movies didn’t matter, and fearing that they never would. It was the spring of 2014, and the filmmaker should have been on top of the world.

Barely 30 and blessed with an irrepressible creative streak that lit the way towards a brilliant future, her rising star had suddenly gone supernova: Both of the features she wrote and directed had been selected to premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival. Feral and free, “Butter on the Latch” and “Thou Wast Mild and Lovely” boasted all the mainstream appeal of a renaissance faire, but they were touched with an arresting sort of newness that made some critics sound like astronomers — people wrote about her movies as if they had discovered new moons.

For Decker, it was all too much and not enough. “I’d just done the biggest thing that I’d ever done in my life,” she said on a recent July afternoon “and had the biggest audience I’d ever had, and I was just like: ‘In the grand scheme of things, more people are going to know about their local grocery market closing down than are ever going to know about these movies. What am I really doing with my life?’”

For Decker, that was the start of an epic adventure that would confirm her talent, and so violently force Decker out of her comfort zone that she still can’t talk about parts of the production without breaking down. Filled with expressionistic dance and sophisticated emotions, “Madeline’s Madeline” is a masterpiece — the last four years of Decker’s life condensed into 93 delirious minutes — and it provides a bridge to the next major stage of her career.