The Seven Faces of Jane
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Eight directors take on eight different phases of the same story: A young mom sets out on a journey of self-discovery after dropping off her eight-year-old daughter at summer camp. A cinematic “exquisite corpse,” the odyssey unfolds as the directors craft mini-narratives, working without knowledge of what would come before or after their contribution.
Community and Love star Gillian Jacobs is the film’s lynchpin as Jane while also tackling one-eighth of the directorial duties. Gia Coppola of Palo Alto (and, you know, Coppola) fame and fellow Community alum Ken Jeong join Jacobs in a slew of up-and-coming directors. Yet another Community star Joel McHale makes a rewarding cameo as Jane’s one that got away.
The road trip movie takes on a new face. Or, well, seven. While the open road is a time-tested backdrop for a protagonist’s quest for identity, The Seven Faces of Jane stretches the boundaries of that enduring narrative.
The only common threads that bind the film’s discrete sections are a few superficial details (a woman named Jane and her blue Mustang) and the promise of transformation and self-discovery at each turn. As Jane drives through LA county, she happens upon strangers, lost loves, and calls to action, each representing a new part of herself she must reckon with.
The film shuffles rapidly between thriller, modern dance, romance, and experimental horror, so it almost makes sense that genre-parody Community veterans make up so much of the billing, though you might miss their usual goofiness. We see Jane navigate an old flame’s beach concert, a Billie Eilish-loving quinceañera runaway, a bizarre audition in a mausoleum, and other strange set pieces you won’t be able to anticipate. Each director has a distinct eye — the film grain itself isn’t even consistent throughout the 90-minute runtime. The pace, though, is steady enough that any potential whiplash symptoms are mild.
The mini-stories are rarely totally legible, so much of the interpretive work is left up to the viewer. It can be a fun exercise, piecing together the film’s disparate parts and finding their sum greater. Of course, some segments will hit harder than others, but they’re short enough that none of them drag.
The film doesn’t land on a central message but offers riffs and variations on a few juicy themes. And you might come out of it with a new director to keep your eye on.
With its experimental premise and mysterious narrative, The Seven Faces of Eve might frustrate some viewers, but it can also be a refreshing viewing experience — to not be left with an agenda, but rather a few itches you might want to scratch on your own time.
The stylistic twists and turns and anthology feel make this one best for the short story enthusiast in your life or your genre-agnostic film friend.
Ford helped finance the film to showcase their Electric Mustang, so if it ever kind of feels like a car commercial, that’s why.