Yes, even harder than The Handmaid’s Tale.
In Her Smell, Elisabeth Moss plays a punk rock singer veering spectacularly out of control.
Moss’ character is Becky Something, a hard-living, hard-drinking – hard everything, really – addict trying to extricate herself from the self-destructive cycle of the music industry. And according to the actress, the role was “the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”
“I’ve done some really difficult things, challenging roles and challenging scenes,” Moss told The Hollywood Reporter at the Toronto Film Festival.
“But this was the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” she said. “It was not fun a lot of the time. It was hard to be in that head space, and hard to be in that person, with all that chaos and craziness. Some things are more fun to play than others. And this was difficult. At the end, I was incredibly fulfilled and happy that I’d done the role. But when we were shooting it, it was not easy.”
Now, you can watch the first trailer for the harrowing film:
Think of Her Smell as A Star Is Born, but told through the female gaze. The story here is the self-possessed female rock star, her band is a girl group, and she is surrounded by other female musicians played by Agyness Deyn, Cara Delevingne, Amber Heard and Gayle Rankin from G.L.O.W.
Told in five scenes that unfold in real-time using a single tracking shot, it’s an audacious movie centred around a truly unlikeable, desperately unloveable female character. (That’s Moss, for those playing along at home.)
“Huge chunks of the dialogue are drowned out by the din [of the movie],” IndieWire wrote. “Which is just as well because every word you hear from Becky makes you loathe her more. Moss is such a whirling dervish that you can’t help but fear for the safety of those around her.”
Her Smell is interested in what happens to a famous person when they retreat from public eye and the machine of celebrity that allows self-obsession to swell and fester.
Becky has to get sober, and in order to do that she needs to turn her back on her fame. What kind of impact would that have on a musician who craves the adulation of a crowd? How will it shape her creativity and the way she goes about making her art? And what about the reams of hangers-on who need Becky’s fame as much as she does?
According to reviews from the 2018 Toronto Film Festival, Her Smell is the performance of Moss’ career and one that could dominate the 2020 Oscar race. This is a movie not to be missed.
Her Smell is released in the US on 12 April and in the UK later in 2019.
Images: Getty, Hulu