CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
Film Review: Hard to Wrap Head Around Misguided ‘Mental’
CHICAGO – Despite boasting the talented efforts of the always-great and tragically underrated Toni Collette, P.J. Hogan’s “Mental,” opening this weekend in Chicago, is a tonal mess. It’s a bewilderingly strange movie, the kind of thing that one might write off as being lost in translation from its Australian origin before realizing it wasn’t that funny there either.
Shirley Moochmoore has gone crazy. She runs through her backyard, singing songs from “The Sound of Music,” as her five daughters panic at the awareness that poor mom has seen the far side of the deep end. It gets worse when Shirley becomes convinced that her always-absent husband (Anthony LaPaglia) has won on “Wheel of Fortune” and so starts ordering merchandise online that the family can’t afford. Shirley is sent “on holiday” and her husband has no idea what to do with the five girls. Oh, did I mention all five think they’re going crazy as well? And at least one might be right?
|Read Brian Tallerico’s full review of “Mental” in our reviews section.|
Enter “Mental“‘s version of Maria from “Sound of Music,” a surly nomad with a dog named Shaz (Toni Collette). She is “beyond humiliation.” And she is picked up on the corner and basically put in charge of raising the Moochmore girls and teaching them that everyone is a bit left of normal. We’re all mental. It just comes down to how one deals with it.
Photo credit: Arclight Films