Movie Pick of the Week

Diamond Tongues

Director: Pavan Moondi, Brian Robertson

Year of release: 2016

Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes

Films about struggling twentysomething actors are a dime a dozen these days, and while Pavan Moondi and Brian Robertson's Diamond Tongues doesn't exactly break any new ground, it does offer up a vision of youthful delusion gone awry which also happens to wring uncomfortable laughs out of its premise.

Leah Goldstein plays the struggling actor in question, Edith Welland, who begins the picture believing she's already the real deal (even though clearly she's having trouble even getting through basic auditions), and convinced that everyone else around her who has achieved some level of success is her enemy. Diamond Tongues is cagey at first about just what motivates Edith. She is simply delusional? Overconfident? Bitter about her recent breakup with a boyfriend who has landed leading role in some B-level zombie movie? Goldstein's funny-sad performance both informs Moondi and Roberston's riff on millennial privilege while also transcending the limitations of the genre. This is not simply another "mumblecore dramedy" about a Girls-esque leading lady who can't get what she wants, but rather, a study of someone who simply refuses to recognize her own narcissism.

Diamond Tongues is a cringe-comedy in the purest sense; with scenes of painfully funny social awkwardness giving way to moments of pathos before circling back again. And if Edith remains a thoroughly unlikeable protagonist, Goldstein's nimble ability to create empathy--especially during a pivotal showstopping late scene--is proof that, unlike her character, she's the real deal.