When I’m a Moth begins with close ups of fish being gutted. It looks and sounds disgusting and the audience can almost smell the assembly line. Is it a fitting start to an “unbiopic” about Hillary Clinton? Does it have anything to say about how she became she person she is today? It is certainly attention grabbing, if nothing else. It is also the highlight of the film.
Taking place in 1969, the film follows Hillary Rodham (Addison Timlin) during a summer in Alaska. In this reimagining of a young Hillary, she is in Alaska to work for the summer (this is based in fact.) She knows what she wants to do with her future, but she still has to discover herself. This leads to lots of conversation and plenty of internal monologues from the woman who would be President.
If the premise is not enough of a clue, When I’m a Moth is one of the most unapologetically pretentious movies of the year. The dialogue tries too hard to be soul searching and pained. Early on, when Hilary talks to a man she just met, the conversation quickly turns to how they are both waiting for nothing. This is after a disclaimer in the opening states the movie is a work of fiction, like the United States political situation. Yeesh.
When I’m a Moth never gives its main character a last name, but drops enough clues to let the audience know it is the same Hillary. She talks about softening her image and hiding her ambition for decades if she must. Therein lies the film’s biggest flaw. In all its attempts to be clever, the movie never offers anything new about Hillary. It instead chooses to stick to the person the media has portrayed her as for decades. Sure, she has a fling with a Japanese fisherman, but what is the audience supposed to think? Even Timlin’s fine performance cannot save this trite and uninteresting script.
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