What is this new film When I’m a Moth about? Why is it about Hilary Clinton? Or is it? Is this based on a real event? Is this a biopic? Is this a different dimension? What did I just watch? I do not fully understand exactly what this film was going for…but the basic premise is such a strange idea. Why take a real political figure and take a purely fantastical look at an influential moment in her life? The biggest question I have is did this film really need to be “about” Hilary Clinton?
Besides this already clearly stated issue about the purpose and meaning of this film, does the film as a whole stand tall? Even if you get past the strange choice of making this about a fictional version of Hilary Clinton…what is this narrative even about? Basically, we spend the 90-minute runtime with Hilary and a young Asian man as they have a budding romance. They wax poetic constantly during every scene and generally it is at least every other line as well. Many will find this film contrived and pretentious in its approach to storytelling. I really question why the dialogue is so philosophical when it never really confronts these ideas that the characters constantly spout. By the end, I barely cared about this potential relationship between Clinton and Ryohei.
With an overly complex and talkie narrative, do directors Zachary Colter and Magdalena Zyzak make us feel anything? There are a few strong acting moments from TJ Kayama where it feels like there are some strong emotions being conveyed. Addison Timlin (Hilary) is often stiff with her line delivery. She is trying to convey deeply thematic ideas and philosophical perspectives, but they lack heart and emotion (making it difficult to really connect. The strongest aspects of the film are the strong and emotive visuals that Colter and Zyzak can create. There are a few inspired moments highlighted by intimate shots of the actors conveying their emotions physically. For a small budget film, the visuals overcame that and was presented in an artful way.
This sounds like quite the mixed bag, doesn’t it? That is an accurate way for the film to be described. The rambling dialogue that is oversaturated with philosophy and themes goes a long way in complicating the viewing experience. Some will be lost and disconnected by the distant emotions of the film. Others may find what the film is saying to be dynamic and impactful. This one will certainly polarize viewers. I have to say I am clearly on the side of being perplexed by the purpose of the film and how it is presented. Despite that, I do appreciate the technical aspects of the film. In the end, When I’m a Moth is a strange experience that will not be for everyone.