"Greener Grass" Review

"Greener Grass" might be one of the weirdest films released this year, and that's exactly why you should watch it. Written and directed by Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe, this dark comedy offers a satirical depiction of suburban life where the aesthetically pleasing presentation is a thinly veiled shield over absurdist discontent.

The film's visual style fuses vibrant 1980's colours and gaudy fashion choices with the off-kilter, Stepfordian nightmares of pastels and soft lighting. The fact that all of the adults in this film are wearing braces only adds to the immersive world-building. It's a blatant reminder that these suburban parents are a bit too fixated on blending into the self-imposed conformity of their community's subjective sense of normality, no matter how ridiculous doing so may be.

The writing is smart, and the performances are delightfully hyperbolic. Additionally, the various technical aspects are all neatly tended to. Samuel Nobles serves a score with instrumentation to match the 1980's aesthetic and dark melodies that enhance the unsettling atmosphere as certain characters start to spiral. There are some creative and captivating choices in Lowell A. Meyer's cinematography, such as the shifting depth of field when tensions begin to escalate.

DeBoer and Luebbe also co-star in "Greener Grass" as Jill and Lisa, who spend the bulk of the film in a housewife version of political warfare. The title refers to the film's narrative, which addresses the way these suburban wives are largely miserable by their own habits of comparing themselves and the various facets of their lives to one other. Whether it's one's husband, children, or homes, the grass is always greener on the other side.

The supporting performers include the likes of Beck Bennett, Neil Casey, and D'Arcy Carden, all of whom are more than sufficient but the film is only successful because DeBoer and Luebbe completely commit to their concept. Both women infuse precisely the right amount of madness into their characters but without going so far as to derail the narrative. Jill and Lisa find themselves entangled in a dance of envying one another for what the other has, whether it's a more attractive husband, a more skilled or unique child, or the plush carpeting in their spacious home. It's almost infuriating to watch these characters be so caught up in the mundane conflicts of an affluent suburban life but that's precisely the point of the story. If you don't walk away from this film with a renewed sensibility to not sweat the small things in life and appreciate all that you have, watch it again and pay closer attention.

"Greener Grass" is playing in New York and Los Angeles and will expand to more theaters starting October 25.


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