Present imperfect | Movie Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Present imperfect

Frank V. Ross portrays a decaying marriage in Tiger Tail in Blue.


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Director Frank V. Ross (Audrey the Trainwreck) and Rebecca Spence play a suburban couple whose marriage is deteriorating due to financial hardship and opposite work schedules—she teaches high school during the day, and he works evenings at a restaurant. Ross's films, similar to those of his peers Joe Swanberg and Andrew Bujalski, are deceptively formal, notable for the way they upend notions of time and space while maintaining a palpable sense of realism. Tiger Tail pushes this aesthetic further by putting Spence in dual roles—she plays Ross's flirtatious coworker as well as his wife, a bold casting move that suggests how an idealized past often resembles an unsatisfactory present. This paradoxical sentiment, which the film expresses masterfully, makes for a somber meditation on sexual frustration and arrested development.

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