There is no guidebook, no set of rules, for dealing with a trauma. Everyone deals with wounds in their own way, and that’s the beauty of healing. You can do it however you want to, in any way that makes you more comfortable, and move towards to rising above. Felt, the 2014 debut film from Amy Everson, is about Amy, a young woman (Everson herself) trying to reclaim her life after an unspecified trauma. Her coping mechanisms are nightmarish and bold, and they allow Amy to tell her story in her own time frame, and in her own ways.
When Felt was selected for the 2019 Final Girls Berlin Film Festival, I was apprehensive to review it because I was afraid I wouldn’t do justice to such a powerful film. Rape culture and rape/revenge is such a delicate subject, and it can be overwhelming. It can evoke powerful and personal emotions. But it’s a movie that was ahead of its time, and with the current #MeToo movement, it finally has its chance to shine and cause reflection over something so tough.
We meet Amy after her trauma has already started affecting her everyday life. While it’s never fully explained, it can be assumed that it was of a sexual nature, most likely rape. Amy is slowly removing herself from her surroundings, including those closest to her. She has started developing multiple alter egos, making each one different with costumes and exaggerated genitalia. She attends a bizarre photo shoot, tries her hand at dating again, and attends parties with the hope of remaining somewhat normal.
It is evident how affected Amy is and how deep she’s falling into the world of her imaginary friends, in a heartbreaking scene where her friend, Alanna (Alanna Reynolds: Paranormal Movie 2013), begs Amy to remove the mask she’s wearing and talk to her, confide in her what’s consuming her, but Amy can’t. This is who she’s becoming, and it’s her safe zone.
Amy spends giant chunks of her days in the complete solitude of the woods, wearing her costumes hand sewn from felt, and attempting to reclaim so much of what was taken from her. Her weird voices and unconventional conversations make her an easy target for ridicule. That, combined with the power of her unknown attacker and her growing instability, are what propel her downward spiral until the excruciating, painful and heartrending climax that will punch you in the gut and kick you while you’re down. It’s that effective.
Debuting at the 2014 Fantastic Fest, Felt is a film wrapped in unflinching personal emotion. It’s an inside look at the aftermath of violation and the loss of security in one’s life. Directed and shot by co-writer Jason Banker (Toad Road 2012), the film has the feel of a home movie, which makes it that much more realistic and personal. Felt isn’t for everyone, though. It’s real and raw. It’s up in your face and refuses to back down. Everson has created a near masterpiece with her first film.
To read another reviewer’s thoughts on Felt, go here.