Krisha (4 stars)

Krisha

Krisha Fairchild turns in a powerful performance in the dynamic debut of Trey Edward Shults

This deeply personal debut feature from Trey Edward Shults about a sexagenarian addict and mother named Krisha (Krisha Fairchild) returning home after a long absence for a family dinner serves up an explosion of seething resentment and pent up feelings. Krisha is viciously described as 'heartbreak incarnate' by her overbearing brother-in-law Doyle (Bill Wise) and as the hours unfold so too does her will to stay away from booze and drugs, proving his harsh comment not entirely unfounded.

Shults takes the viewer inside Krisha's fragile mind, an unnerving place that hides and compartmentalises dark demons. Part character study and part family portrait Shults keeps his camera in constant motion and guides it over his many players to frantic amplified string music designed for a jumpy and disorientating experience. This display of technical prowess matches his emotional insight as events develop.

Brilliant leading lady Fairchild makes Krisha appear harried on first arriving at the house but as she interacts with family members she exudes a warmness, all giggles and embraces, until her estranged son Trey (Shults himself) enters the frame. The tension is apparent from the off and this tightly wound and intimate drama delivers on both the intensity and complexity of a black sheep returning to the fold. And its portrayal of alcoholism provides equal measures of beauty and ugliness. When Krisha finally gives in to her addiction it reeks of desperation, as she sucks a bottle of red dry, but the immediate after-effects are utterly enchanting. A tranquil interlude plays out to Nina Simone's 'Just in Time' and, as Krisha casts a loving gaze over her family, it strikes a perfect note of discord with the ensuing calamity.

Limited release from Fri 9 Dec.

Krisha

  • 4 stars
  • 2016
  • US
  • 1h 23min
  • 15
  • Directed by: Trey Edward Shults
  • Cast: Krisha Fairchild, Bill Wise, Robyn Fairchild, Billie Fairchild
  • UK release: 9 December 2016

Krisha (Fairchild), a sexagenarian addict and mother, attends a family dinner after a long absence, and as the hours unfold, so does her will to stay away from booze and drugs. Fairchild is brilliant as the titular character, in this deeply personal debut by Shults, part character study and part family portrait.

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