Photo: ‘Fever Dream’
‘Fever Dream’ – More Questions than Answers
The film begins with a black screen and the narration begins; from the start, there is a sense that this won’t be a normal watch. Based on the novel Fever Dream by Samanta Schweblin, ‘Fever Dream’ is exactly what it sounds like. Jumping back and forth between moments in time intertwined with the continuation of a narrative conversation being fully grounded during this film is nearly impossible. Before going into a summary of the plot it’s important to say that this is definitely not for everyone and can bring a bit of odd anxiety while watching. If you’re someone who loves a neatly tied-up movie, this one will make you go crazy. On the other hand, this is a perfect film to watch to get out of your comfort zone.
A young mother Amanda (Maria Valverde) moves into a summer home with her young daughter Nina. Settling into the home a week before the arrival of her husband, a neighbor befriends her. Carola (Dolores Fonzi) and Amanda bond with each other, but when Carola reveals that there is something different about her son David, things slowly start getting strange. This is the overall beat of the beginning though the story is not told in chronological order, but more like how memories are retold. Small details picked out, but hard to say the actual happenings. Though I would not consider this to be a horror movie there is a slight sense of uneasiness that is felt throughout similar to the Darron Aronofsky film ‘Mother!’ starring Jennifer Lawrence.
‘Fever Dream’ – Deep Connection
The two main leads in this film are depicted to form a very special friendship, but there is always a beat of tension. The way the two women look at each other makes the audience raise an eyebrow. Are they lovers? Do they have feelings for each other? Will they act on them? We are always so prone to think characters have more feelings for each other than they actually do. Even, in reality, society sees two celebrities hang out or give each other a look, and all of a sudden they are a couple. The chemistry between Amanda and Carola is strong but vague like the way Todd Haynes has Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara pursue each other in ‘Carol’. But unlike that film, there is no clear answer to the love they have for each other. This could be a completely false idea that wasn’t supposed to come off this way, but it’s hard to deny the small touches and the huge emotions that they have when they are with one another.
A huge theme of the film is the effects that people have on the environment. Throughout the film, there are a lot of nature shots and it isn’t until towards the end where we connect the dots of what we do to the environment is actually slowly killing us. The author of the book had a lot to say about the pollution in Argentina and decided to create this story that is powerful but also tells an insane spiritual journey of a mother’s love for her child. ‘Fever Dream’ is a constant battle of someone realizing what they should have paid attention to.
In the last five years, there has been a good shift in the industry of what kind of content is getting put out. There will of course be films that are made for visual stimulation and entertainment, but now there is a hunger for something more. We are looking for something deeper and thought-provoking, whether it be a political stance or raising awareness of an important cause. Right now the number one show on Netflix is ‘Squid Game’, not only is it a phenomenal show but what makes it so incredible is the social commentary of the unfairness of capitalism in South Korea. This is something that everyone in the world can relate to about their own country and now standing up for themselves. ‘Fever Dream’ can be interpreted in many ways, but its stance of how the people must take better care of the planet because there are consequences is relatable to every living thing on this planet.
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Not a Hollywood Ending
Claudia Llosa is the director of this wild trip and she is to thank for being able to transition the novel into the perfect visual representation. This film definitely doesn’t fit the usual standards of a Hollywood film. The first thing is that it is not in English but in Spanish. As I get more and more introduced to the international cinema I find a common theme among them. They take bigger chances and don’t follow the same standards that Americans are used to. They have a message they want to send out to the world and they want to tell it in their own way.
‘Fever Dream’ gives you the feeling of waking up from a nap that went too long; no sense of time and utter confusion. From start to finish I was a bit confused about where the story was going and it wasn’t until a particular scene that gave me an ah-ha moment. Many questions were still unanswered, but it doesn’t necessarily matter. The director (and I’m sure the writer as well) don’t care as much if the audience understands what is happening as long as they are feeling something while they are watching.
Netflix has been a great supplier of a variety of content and ‘Fever Dream’ is a good addition to the psychological thriller category. May not be everyone’s cup of tea, but an absolute watch for people who want to feel high without taking anything.
Where to watch:
Stream ‘Fever Dream’ here on Netflix.
Actors: Maria Valverde, Dolores Fonzi, Guillermo Pfening, Emilio Vodanoviche, and German Palicious |
Directed by: Claudia Llosa | Written by: Claudia Llosa & Samanta Schweblin | Produced by: Mark Johnson, Tom Williams, Ken Meyer, and Sandra Hermida
By Jack Colin
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Jack Colin is a playwright and screenwriter with an immense love for film & television which drives him to learn from and share his passion with anyone willing to listen. Living life as a trans man, Jack wants his writing to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ members and share the positive stories that are so often ignored through his work at The Hollywood Insider, he is eager to give readers a confident outlook on life. The storytellers of the world are the ones who decide what happiness can be. Jack takes pride in The Hollywood Insider’s mission statement to stray away from gossip and to lift up voices in entertainment with supportive and meaningful stories that will promote strength and unity.