Paper Spiders Review

A bittersweet story about coming of age in the shadow of mental illness.

Melanie is our typical high-school student who is preparing for her future but, her mother, who is battling issues that stem from her husband passing away is holding her back from moving forward.

The idea of someone watching you, stalking you, involved in your every step is a haunting one, and that is what Dawn is having to go through daily. She is unable to overcome this idea, and it’s starting to make everyone around her fall apart. Melanie is all Dawn has as her daughter is having to take care of her all while being a teenager.

Inon Shampanier screenplay is beautifully written, and his direction was top notch as well. He does a great job of putting us in this world and doing it with such caution but yet vulnerability at the same time. His work behind the camera was equally as poignant as we have some very well placed shots and some nice editing from Joe Murphy that knocks it out of the ballpark.

In addition to the good writing and directing we had two great performances. We had an absolute groundbreaking performance from Stefanie Lavie Owen. Her range of emotions and the depth of her character we’re out of this world. The way she was capable of reeling you into her words, her emotions, and her body language… it was remarkable.

Likewise, with Lili Taylor with her performance as Dawn. Her performance was troubling, but she sold us in this beautiful way that made us feel so much empathy for what she was going through.

One of the only issues I had with the film was the length. While I think the editing was good, I felt like there was a solid 10-15 minutes that needed to be cut, and this included the never-ending, ending of the movie.

The Verdict

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Paper Spiders is a challenging look at mental illness and how it can break families apart.

Jacob is a film critic and co-founder of the Music City Drive-In. He is a member of the Music City Film Critics’ Association and specializes in the awards season. You can find him on Twitter @Tberry57.

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