Tuesday, March 19, 2024

Cat Person

Adapted from the short story of the same name, Cat Person stars Locke & Key's Emilia Jones as an overly imaginative college student working part time at a local movie theater. After a couple of awkward conversations with a regular, Margot (Jones) decides to give the older Robert (Nicholas Braun) a chance. A romance that blossoms over texts, however, runs into issues when the two spend more time together in real life.

Director Susanna Fogel and screenwriter Michelle Ashford who adapts Kristen Roupenian's short story could have used some bolder strokes here. The film could have popped more either as a darker thriller, really playing out Margot's fantasies and the darker tone the script half-heartedly adopts in the final act, or as a more farcical comedy playing up the uncomfortableness and craziness of romantic misunderstandings and mistakes for laughs. Middling halfway between the two leaves us with a more uninspired drama, albeit one with some interesting ideas about modern dating.

Along with Margot's vivid imagination which leads her to suspecting the worst of the actually mostly harmless Robert, the script also makes use of an imaginative worlds in which Margot talks to herself in some out of body experiences, judging her current choices, and imagined therapy sessions between Robert and his psychiatrist which she interrupts. Leaning into either humor or horror (the film as constituted isn't really much of a thriller) could have punched up these segments as something more than commentary on dating.

Cat Person is one of those films with a group of supporting characters who are all to quirky for their own good. Honestly, cutting out nearly all the scenes Margot has with other people (including one hell of a creepy family birthday party) would have helped a film that feels at least a half-hour too long. The film fares better when it stays with Margot and Robert and explores the differences between the male and female takes on both their texting relationship (something they both enjoy) to their physical relationship (something they have vastly different opinions on).

For those planning to seek the film out, Emilia Jones is the highlight of an otherwise okay film with some genuinely enjoyable moments, lots of filler, annoying supporting characters, and insight on modern romance. Although Margot's level distrust and hallucination border on needing a straightjacket, her honest reactions to events and her conflicted feelings towards a man she decides she cares for but isn't romantically interested in feel quite real. Robert on the other hand is a far less interesting character who only really gets explored in the dream psychotherapy sessions which I couldn't quite pin down as belonging to which of the two characters.

  • Title: Cat Person
  • IMDb: link

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