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Ellie Parker Review

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A young, actress wannabe goes from one humilating audition to another in Hollywood.

★★★★★

Expanding upon a quartet of shorts that writer-director Scott Coffey made with Naomi Watts, this is an engaging and mostly amusing insight into the stresses involved in securing a foothold on the lowest rung of the Hollywood ladder. Revisiting territory she explored in Mulholland Drive, Watts turns in a commendable display of quiet despair, as she clings to her self-esteem while shuttling between auditions for projects she knows are beneath her.

Encounters with Coffey’s wannabe cinematographer, a boorish musician and a rival hopeful are all squirmingly credible. But Watts is most effective in solo slots in the car she uses as a dressing-room, office and rehearsal studio. Shrewdly observed and admirably restrained in its depiction of a ludicrous world.

A splendid performance by Naomi Watts holds together this smart and astutely restrained lampoon of life in the Hollywood basement.