by Ben Beard
“Everything in this house is rotten.”
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Young filmmaker Leah Meyerhoff writes and directs this short film that so far has won almost universal accolades on the festival set.
Less a story than a meditation on the spiraling obsessions of a screwed teenager, Twitch follows a high school girl and her relationship with her estranged wheel-chair bound mother. The film unfolds without exposition, instead following the young teenager through a series of snapshot scenes, detailing her increasing neurosis that perhaps her mother’s disability is contagious. As the girl begins to believe that she, like her mother, will lose the use of her legs, the gulf that divides mother and daughter widens.
Her relationship with her boyfriend is threatened by her burgeoning fears, as her nascent sexuality appears to be challenged by her growing revulsion to the human form. It’s a strange, insular take on growing up and rings with the veracity of real-life experience. (Meyerhoff’s mother plays the fictional mother in the film.)
And the movie looks great, simple and elegant.
Water works as the movie’s central image; sometimes it cleans, sometimes it liberates, and sometimes it drowns. Twitch is a hard but impressive little film. The travails of growing up, the immense pain of post-adolescence, the terror of the big nasty world resting just outside our windows: Twitch augers in the universal places of hurt in the human brain.
We can take solace that Meyerhoff is now working on her first feature-length film. Twitch shows great promise; we now must wait for Meyerhoff’s talents to fully bloom.
Ben Beard is writer and critic living in the Midwest.
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