Milez Das’s review published on Letterboxd:
Beth is finally getting some success from her acting gigs. Anna, Beth's best friend still trying to get good acting work and make ends meet.
They plan a weekend trip to Big Sur. As they settle in the house, we start to feel uneasy with the characters. Beth is someone mostly acts like helpless, she is climbing up the ladder, even though many of her movies contain nudity and in her own words they are stupid. But she still does it.
Anna who is keeping her calm and trying to understand Beth, she knows she is better than Anna in acting but she is someone who will not be succumbed to the helpless mode. You can just know what she is thinking by looking into her eyes. Her expressions, how she looks at Beth.
The film even dives in how men are taken aback when a girl is strong willed or a bit aggressive than their taste. You can even see how Beth even having a boyfriend accepts a dinner date. It is like she has different persona in varied situations.
Always Shine mirrors a friendship which I thought was never really in place or just got stretched because of ones successful career. Every moment they both a spending looked more like the second act of Mulholland Drive.
You can notice every influence this movie has. From Persona, Black Swan, Mulholland Drive and many others. Even the opening looked something out of Lars Von Trier. The movie psychologically tests you. It makes free of the characters and letting out their feelings.
Mackenzie Davis is just phenomenal as Anna. She reminded me of Naomi Watts in Mulholland Drive. She is driven by the character. Caitlin Fitzgerald as Beth plays the perfect counterpart for Anna.
One other thing you will notice here is the editing and the score which are haunting and excellently presented. Sophia Takal maturely directs this incredible feature, breaking free and bad.
Always shine is a portrayal of a friendship which is based on jealousy and hidden feelings. It dives into psychological Forrest and leaves in a state of shock.