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‘Alice Fades Away’ review: Strong performances carry Southern Gothic tale

Lots of promise.

Alice Fades Away is a Southern Gothic thriller that is set in all places, 1950s New England. The movie follows the titular character (Ashley Shelton) who, along with her son Logan (Paxton Singleton), have taken refuge at an isolated farm. The residents initially seem eager to help Alice. When a figure from her past arrives, hard choices must be made.

The story is told in a nonlinear fashion that can be confusing at times. Alice Fades Away uses flashbacks and flash forwards (and even flashbacks within flashbacks) to advance the plot. This gives things an erratic feel to the film. Subsequently, the story is never quite as tense as it should be despite the many questions that are brought up.

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Alice Fades Away is sparse with dialogue. The film is a quiet one that uses setting and music to build its atmosphere. It is not unheard of to deliver a story this way. Here, it often comes off as if the script is intentionally leaving information out. Nothing ever seems to come together quite the way it seems to have been intended. This can be frustrating.

Shelton does a great job in the lead role. As the film unfolds, she is tasked to showcase a variety of emotions. The audience’s first introduction to Alice is another character describing her as being like a robot and without a soul. Shelton plays this description perfectly. There are many moments when she looks as if she is staring through others and not at them. That being said, she still comes off as a loving and concerned mother.

While it has its flaws, the film still manages to come together in a very satisfying conclusion. Alice Fades Away uses all of these storytelling techniques seen earlier in its well told final moments. It is an emotionally powerful ending that ties together the film’s many themes. It also serves as a disappointing reminder of what could have been.

Alice Fades Away premieres on iTunes/AppleTV, Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft, Vudu, FandangoNOW, Cable VOD platforms and more on February 16, 2021.

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