Sundance’s ‘Bad Behaviour’ Is an Incoherent Mother-Daughter Nightmare

Courtesy of Sundance

“You are a toxic fucking nightmare,” spits a character in Bad Behaviour to Lucy (Jennifer Connelly), and in many respects, it’s an accurate assessment of the divorced mom. Alas, one hears and sees Lucy’s wretchedness far more than one comprehends it, and that shortcoming proves to be emblematic of New Zealand actress Alice Englert’s maiden directorial effort, which strives to scrutinize mother-daughter relations through a darkly comedic lens and only comes up with grating incoherence.

Debuting at this year’s Sundance Film Festival in the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, Bad Behaviour sidesteps table-setting from the start, save for a brief phone conversation between Lucy in Oregon and her twentysomething daughter Dylan (Englert) in New Zealand, during which both pretend to be too busy to talk before the call mercifully drops out.

This implies that their relationship is strained to the point of physical as well as emotional estrangement. However, it’s not until much later that anything resembling clarity about their situation emerges. Worse, once they finally reunite, things only become a tiny bit clearer, and solely with regards to specifics; the exposition that the two spout while arguing about past conflicts fills in some basic blanks, if hardly affords a real sense of their fraught dynamic.

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Source: The Daily Beast

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