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Date TimeSeptember 07, 2019
VoiceMoss thrills as a strung-out rock star in Alex Ross Perry’s tremendous, terribly titled new film
Streaming: Elisabeth Moss in Her Smell – not to be sniffed at
A bad title can be a debilitating handicap to even the best of films: if it makes you wince even to say the thing, it’s that much harder to get invested in watching it. This is a truth that has been learned the hard way by the new film from American independent writer-director Alex Ross Perry: a daring, grungily immersive and quite brilliantly acted character study that has been saddled, for reasons best known to Perry himself, with the buzz-killing moniker Her Smell.
Try telling people, as I have for several months now, that they should be looking out for a terrific film called Her Smell – only to be greeted with grimacing, nose-wrinkling, “her what?” questions and often a swift change of subject. It hasn’t courted much of a crowd: after premiering to strong reviews at the Toronto film festival a year ago, the film eventually secured a tiny release in the States, grossing just over $250,000. UK distributors were particularly slow to bite: finally, Her Smell (Signature, 15) is being released directly to video on demand on Monday, skipping a traditional cinema release. I’m not saying that low profile is all down to the title – the film’s abrasive and challenging in more substantial ways – but it can’t have helped.

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