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An endlessly inventive and playful yet twisted drama finds Aubrey Plaza as an actress-turned-director retreating to a couple’s secluded country home to write her next script.

The quest for artistic relevance mixes with sexual tension in unexpected ways for the trio at the center of Lawrence Michael Levine’s enigmatic Black Bear. Wry and quippy indie director Allison (Aubrey Plaza) arrives at the idyllic upstate New York home of a Brooklyn expat couple — musician Gabe (Christopher Abbott) and dancer Blair (Sarah Gadon) — looking for some creativity and inspiring solitude. As wine is liberally poured around the dinner table on her first night, Allison is unabashedly entertained by the bitter asides and spiteful barbs exchanged between her new hosts. As her stay begins to draw a wedge between the expecting couple, an impulsive decision leads to irreversible consequences. Or does it?

At once a thriller, a comedy and a meta-commentary on filmmaking and desire, the darkly funny, mind-bending Black Bear is a swirling showcase for Levine's actors, especially Plaza, who fully inhabit their characters in surprising ways, constantly shifting the ground beneath the viewer’s feet, with dizzying, delicious results.

  • Year
  • Runtime
    104 minutes
  • Language
  • Country
    United States
  • Director
    Lawrence Michael Levine
  • Screenwriter
    Lawrence Michael Levine
  • Cast
    Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott, Sarah Gadon, Paola Lázaro, Grantham Coleman
  • Cinematographer
    Rob Leitzell
  • Editor
    Matthew Weiss
  • Composer
    Giulio Carmassi, Bryan Scary