The Unspeakable Act | Chicago Reader

The Unspeakable Act

91 minutes 2013

Movies that deal with incest are often couched in melodrama, dealing with hidden transgressions and shattered family roles. But The Unspeakable Act is different. Written and directed by Dan Sallitt (a former Reader contributor), this hushed, discreet indie drama details the complicated relationship between two siblings of a tight-knit, upper-middle-class Brooklyn family. Seventeen-year-old Jackie (Tallie Medel), the bright and seemingly well-adjusted younger daughter, harbors romantic and sexual feelings for her 18-year-old brother, Matthew (Sky Hirschkron). He never openly reciprocates them, but they share an intimacy that complicates their other relationships. The film isn't presented as a case study of incestuous behavior, nor does it offer any insights into the psychology of incestuous desire. In fact it actively works against the Oedipal notions we bring to an incest story. In the grand tradition of French director Eric Rohmer, to whom Sallitt dedicates the film, this is a story in which transgression is considered but never acted upon. Continue reading >>

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