Until Branches Bend is a thought-provoking drama that delves into the disturbing parallels between an invasive parasite and an unwanted pregnancy. Directed by Sophie Jarvis, the film explores the story of Robin (Grace Glowicki), who works on a fruit packing plant line and discovers a strange bug in a piece of fruit. Concerned about the economic impact of the discovery, Robin informs her boss, who instructs her to keep quiet. However, when Robin goes public with the news, she faces opposition and ridicule from those in power, leading her down a path of obsession and mental instability.
The film’s themes include humanity being at odds with nature, rural misogyny, and mob rule. These themes are woven seamlessly into the storyline, creating a nightmarish and unnerving experience for the viewer. Jarvis’s use of a 16mm aesthetic adds to the film’s ominous quality, transporting the viewer to the Okanagan valley in British Columbia, where the story is set. The lush landscapes of the valley, captured through cinematographer Jeremy Cox’s vision, only serve to heighten the film’s tension and mood.
Glowicki’s portrayal of Robin is intense and powerful. Robin is tall, awkward, and physically imposing, yet still attractive. Her confidence in her ethics and the truth she seeks to reveal drive her outside the comfort of the life she’s made. Robin’s determination to prove her story is at the center of the film and Glowicki delivers an unforgettable performance that leaves a lasting impact.
The film’s plotline also addresses the issue of American healthcare and the status of women in lower positions in the workplace. Robin’s pregnancy and her desire to have an abortion are major plot points that showcase the complicated nature of reproductive rights and healthcare in America. The film’s commentary on this issue is subtle yet powerful, leaving a lasting impression on the viewer.
The film’s 98-minute runtime is small in physicality but offsets its growingly unnerving mentality. Until Branches Bend is reminiscent of other films like Silkwood, Norma Rae, Erin Brockovich, and Dark Waters in its themes. However, the film takes a different path than its predecessors, addressing deeper themes of humanity being at odds with nature and rural misogyny, and mob rule.
Overall, Until Branches Bend is a well-crafted film that will leave a lasting impression on the viewer. The film’s themes, performances, and cinematography come together to create a thought-provoking and disturbing experience that is tailor-made for the festival circuit. The film asks viewers to consider where they stand on their values against self-preservation, making it a must-see for anyone looking for a powerful and unique cinematic experience.