2018 AFI FEST
A truism in Hollywood is that rock stars are wannabe actors and actors are wannabe rock stars. In Her Smell, Elisabeth Moss lives out her rock star fantasies as the Courtney Love like Becky Something, a big deal during the 90’s Riot Grrrl era. A high decibel screamer, Becky was probably way too raw for the Lilith Fair. Her all female trio Something She made it as big as an alternative band could. Like most from that scene who didn’t have a trust fund or something else to fall back on, she’s struggling financially and emotionally as a single mom.
Becky’s long-suffering bandmates Ali van der Wolff (Gayle Rankin) and Marielle Hell (Agyness Deyn) are hoping for one last score, a mega anniversary concert, to save their careers. That’s if Becky’s can hold it together that long.
When it becomes clear banking on Becky is a losing proposition, her manager Howard (Eric Stoltz) signs Akergirls, played by Ashley Benson, Cara Delevingne, and Dylan Gelula, They’re younger and more what this generation’s music fans want. There’s something of All About Eve (1950) in how the ingénue befriends then overtakes a veteran star.
Late in the film, director Alex Ross Perry dramatically changes pace as a mellowed out Becky reinvents herself as a folk singer. It’s an unexpected change that your ears and her furniture will greatly appreciate.