Life imitating art, imitating life, imitating... you?
The sky opens up over the desert and something is shot down from space. Thick black liquid runs down the cover of a magazine. A woman appears and as if she's just been hatched, she takes her first staggering steps in her new world.
Off elsewhere, we are introduced to Julianna. Are these two women the same? Julianna is an adult actress and the other woman is clearly not from this world. We learn pretty quickly that Julianna wants more out of life, more than chasing down every ordinary high.
My feelings throughout was that the woman shot down from the sky, was looking for fun and adventure, while Julianna wanted stability, comfort and a way to start over. Love, life and lust. I believe that we as humans will chase the unattainable, over and over again. So what is this? Hell on earth? Heaven on earth? Maybe it's both and the only way to life is to live it. Live through the confusions, the sadness and sorrow. We laugh until we can hardly breathe/until we're out of breath. We cry until we think our chest is going to burst open and someone is going to rip out our heart. We may not all be destined for greatness, but we are all destined for something, and it is up to us to figure out what.
So maybe it's not about what's on the other side, or whose grass is greener or whatnot. We are not how we appear, but how we portray ourselves, so a mirror image of ourselves, does not necessarily justify who we are. Hello Scully, it's Mulder, the truth is still out there. In conclusion, you've gotta watch The Imitation Girl, and make up your own mind - who imitates who.
I'm not quite sure how or where to place Imitation Girl on the spectrum of horror, so let's just ditch the label altogether and take it for what it is - an abstract introspective character study, framed with the complexities of the human experience, one that's propelled by Lauren Ashley Carter's stunning breakout performance, and masterfully orchestrated by Natasha Kermani in this, her directorial debut.
Reading the synopsis for the film, you wouldn't be faulted for believing that there really isn't much going on - narratively speaking - which would require any kind of deep probing or layered examination, but rest assured, Imitation Girl - much like an inkblot found in a Rorschach test - is deceptively complex. By illustrating its story through the juxtaposition of Julianna's life against that of her alien imitator, parallels and differentiations can be drawn, exposing the various fractures and shards of a complete life which - almost supernaturally - pull both characters towards one another. And because both versions of the Julianna character differ so wildly, the film's audience will assuredly come to find themselves interpreting the finale in different ways, hell, the journey itself as well. Where as I saw the "Imitation" as a do over of sorts, an almost divine rebirth (at one point it even refers to itself as an "angel"), some may may see it as a "what could have been" alternate reality playing simultaneously through the looking glass. Maybe Julianna was an alien in both forms - two incomplete extraterrestrials that needed one another to find meaning. Maybe it's all an allegory for the messed up way in which life often makes us humans, feel alien on our own planet. There's an awful lot to chew through here, an awful lot to discuss, and I'm not sure this review or Vicky's will even come close to scratching the surface.
So go watch it, challenge yourself, and join the discussion; Imitation Girl is available to rent right now on practically every major VOD platform in existence. But go in understanding that much like is the case in life, you may not have the answers to all the questions put forth by the film, especially not the first viewing of it. And that's ok - watch it again.