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The Congress


2013
Directed By Ari Folman
Starring Robin Wright, Harvey Keitel and John Hamm

20 years after the release of The Princess Bride Robing Wright (played by Robin Wright) signs her final contract. She agrees to have her likeness scanned so the producers at Miramount can use her image in any way they see fit but Robin Wright the actress will no longer exist. Robin Right agrees to never act again. At 45 years old our protagonist is over the hill and all but dead in Hollywoood. In this alternate world she is a woman who has made bad career choices and is constantly reminded of her wasted potential. 

This film is clearly a satire that pokes fun at Hollywood on the surface level but it really speaks to the way we treat women in our society and what we value as individuals. This is a film that works and plays on many levels simultaneously. It’s both a cautionary tale of where technology is taking us and a commentary on celebrity. When we value image and status over expression and heart what are we left with.

We all saw Robin Wright in Forest Gump, a film that used footage of dead presidents and rock stars with overdubbed dialogue to make it appear as though they had interacted with a fictional character. It’s a cute experiment but when I think of it as the first step in a line of events that eventually replaced actors with scans, it’s creepy and off putting.

The Congress is told with broad strokes and that might lead people to the conclusion that it’s only an exploration of ageism in Hollywood. The Broad strokes allow the viewer to relate to this very successful actress playing herself in an alternate reality. When the viewer is allowed to fill in the blanks and make their own conclusions the revelations are far more personal than being lectured for an hour and a half.   


Robin Wright gives a brilliant performance in this film. With this and House of Cards she is on a hell of a role these days and I look forward to seeing what she does next.



The Congress is available on Amazon and iTunes and will have a limited theatrical release in September

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