Violet, from writer and first time director Justine Bateman, is a unique and daring approach to storytelling. It’s an often told tale about a woman struggling with the negative voices in her head. However, the film’s style is something you haven’t seen before. The performance from Olivia Munn as Violet makes it totally believable. The film is currently available on demand from several streamers.
Violet is a balancing act. We see Violet going about her job as a filmmaker. We hear the negative voice in her head – she calls it a committee but the voice is always that of Justin Theroux. Simultaneous with the outward reality and the inner shaming, we literally see Violet’s thoughts, longings, fears, and memories. Olivia Munn is nuanced with this triple step. Justine Bateman’s direction gives it meaning. It’s cut with brief flashes of horror and freedom and a dissolve to red when things get overwhelming. It all works.
It’s dense and packed with emotion. Every small victory toward overcoming the shaming voice and becoming her true self is a celebration for the viewer and for Violet.
Violet begins a relationship with Red (Luke Bracey). She speaks honestly with her friend Lila (Erica Ash) about her fears and desires – an important step. She asserts herself with her terrible brother Rick (Todd Stashwick) and her disgusting boss Tom (Dennis Boutsikaris). Two more important steps. I applauded her every baby step, every inch of progress.
I thought the choice of the event that marked her final breakthrough was perfect and satisfying.
The film is different. It’s unusual. It’s full of hope and beauty. It isn’t a remake. It isn’t a blockbuster. But I trust this lovely film finds its audience. Justine Bateman has me in her clutches now.