Felt is divisive. So much so, this review is itself divided into Left-Right polarities.
From the Right: Amy is an aimless, immature vulgarian, a walking Tumblr page repeating feminist platitudes. Instead of contributing anything meaningful to society, either in her faux transgressive art (“look, it’s a fetal Fuhrer!”) and awful Goatse-inspired degeneracy or inter-personally (she incessantly and tediously jokes about various fringe sexual practices and is perpetually bitter) Amy is the didactic voice of victim-hood and bellyaching.
Her alter ego, in which she dresses up as sexualized super heroes with rubber phalluses, is an indulgence even the most patient of her friends cannot endure. She goes on mumble-core first dates in which her suitors casually joke about roofies (this is deemed “realistic” by some reviewers, a terribly depressing thought). She’s virtuous because she’s an artist, one of her dates not so, as he’s an engineer. This is the stuff of traditional Hollywood which celebrates writers and artists and mocks accountants and entrepreneurs.
Felt hints that something traumatic has happened to Amy and since men are all depicted in a negative light, we know she’ll lash out leading to an inevitable conclusion when she meets softie Michael Cera-esque Kenny.
**(out of 5)
From the Left: Amy is a charmingly complex underdog, coping with a deep-seated trauma the filmmaker Jason Banker only subtly hints at.
Naturally suspicious of the opposite sex and male advances, and feeling consistently undermined by male privilege, she retreats into a fantasy world where she’s empowered; dressing up as hyper-eroticized cartoon characters. This is love liniment, a coping mechanism to deal with the misogyny that is her dating life and the constant objectification her gender endures.
She cracks wise about going on a killing spree during a hallway tete-a-tete with a friend. Her friend fantasizes about crushing a man’s head between her thighs and jokes that even her sadistic fantasies can’t be separated from male sexuality.
When Amy meets kind, charming, soft-spoken and empathetic Kenny, his subsequent unfaithfulness triggers her, in this morally ambiguous twist on a Last House on the Left revenge-fantasy.
**** (out of 5).
The Verdict: somewhere in the center. Ambitious, languid yet unforgettable regardless of which political real estate you occupy. And a scene in her bedroom involving a Voodoo doll phallus is one for the ages.
*** (out of 5)