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It's Always That Feeling

average rating is 2 out of 5


Patrick Foley


Posted on:

Jun 19, 2024

Film Reviews
It's Always That Feeling
Directed by:
Gigi Hozimah
Written by:
Gigi Hozimah
Maritza Vives, Vanessa Pottiger, Emily Dale White

Experimental single-setting feature It’s Always That Feeling from Gigi Hozimah is a less an emotional rollercoaster and more of an emotional haunted house. This thoughtful contemplation on sorrow and grief is overflowing with raw and prominent acting, but its glacial pace and embellished performances mean the film risks being inaccessible to a majority of viewers.


Former actor Harry (Steven Wright) and his wife Dahlia (Maritza Vives) are spending a night in their apartment when they are visited unexpectedly by Harry’s former lover Maya (Vanessa Pottiger). Maya’s visit uncovers unresolved feelings of grief that all three share, leading Harry to flee. The women grow closer in his absence, and a dreamlike state descends on the flat.


It’s Always That Feeling is an actor’s movies first and foremost. There are long stretches of this film that feel more like experimental theatre than cinema – with each member of the cast granted moments to unleash a highlight reel of misery as their characters are subjected to torture from their past. It’s as if each has been set a task to leave any trace of joy or contentment at the door and commit to a navel-gazing onslaught of reflection. The talent of the main cast is clear to see, but the formless self-aggrandizing grows repetitive as the film trundles on.


The pace really is the film’s most prominent and divisive element. Long shots of Harry and Dahlia sleepwalking through their lives feature in the film’s opening, to be replaced by the aforementioned contemplations – sometimes singular and sometimes shared – as pasts are explored. The developments are heavy – with the plot addressing truly heartbreaking histories of the cast. And the themes explored in the film are relatable. But the drawn-out, overlong manner in which the film presents them begin to feel frustrating and tiresome. The lucid, dreamlike storytelling ends up removing some of the depth from the characters as they begin to lose authenticity and feel less and less like real personalities as opposed to vessels for their actor’s soulfulness.


Gigi Hozimah’s direction is unconventional, exploring the apartment space dynamically to provide interesting and engaging angles of the characters. Some of these are questionable and result in some of the actors’ performances seemingly being missed. Yet others add to the intimacy, drawing in close to the cast to capture the intricacies they bring to their characters. Martiza Vives’ concealment of her disdain, and its battle with her growing respect for Maya are amongst the film’s strongest moments thanks to the directors’ canny eye.


Experiments don’t always come up with perfect results. It’s Always That Feeling is one that has more misses than hits due to its drawn-out pacing and hysterical, performance-driven emotional onslaught. Hozimah’s direction is strong and when the acting veers towards more traditional and subtle, the film is much more enjoyable. But most viewers will struggle to find the ‘feeling’ the filmmakers are going for.

About the Film Critic
Patrick Foley
Patrick Foley
Theatrical Release, Digital / DVD Release, Indie Feature Film
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