Review by Cade
Stray tells the story of Jennifer, a woman whom we know very little about for much of the film. Regardless of her lack of history, it’s clear that she is seeking an escape from her past, and she finds it in the form of a small suburban town called Chestnut Hill. First seducing and then murdering a kind samaritan, it’s evident that Jennifer is hardly a flawless protagonist. Though she may appear well composed on the outside, Stray reminds us that looks can be deceiving, as she frequently displays odd and even psychopathic behavior, much to the ignorance of almost every other character. After she gets a job as a cook in a diner, again she seduces the already attached owner and ends up marrying him.
There are points when I feel like I totally understand the direction the movie is going, and then am totally surprised and blindsided. Stray is just so unpredictable and bizarre, especially in terms of the protagonists’ actions, that it’s incredibly striking and mostly refreshing. Time was also an interesting aspect of the film that the director (Nena Eskridge) chose to tinker with. There are no indications of it throughout the story, and though the entirety of the plot is linear, at some points we jump around quite a bit through subtle, nondescript transitions.
To conclude, the acting was consistently superb; I rarely questioned Gabrielle Stone’s performance, and the supporting cast were also very talented. Stray is really a film about human emotions and their relationships with others. I would recommend it to those who enjoy psychological thrillers.
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