A wad of black ooze rockets down from the stars and lands on some kids spank mag and assumes the form of Julianna Fox (Lauren Ashley Carter), the world’s leading porn star (I swear to you this is an arthouse sci-fi drama…just bear with me). This creature, Imitation, wanders through the desert before she is taken in by a family from whom she learns about humanity and actually being a human being. Meanwhile, in New York City, Julianna is growing weary of the adult biz (and her drug dealing side hustle), and she jumps at the chance to audition for a prestigious musical conservatory (seems she was a great pianist before she took up the skin flute) after a chance meeting with an old teacher. Eventually our alien protagonist becomes aware of who she copied, and sets off to the city to meet her other half face to face.
While the description above sounds like it could easily dovetail into exploitation territory, Imitation Girl never does, rather it presents a tale full of a non-cloying sweetness and emotional resonance, and yet it’s never afraid to let it’s strange side show much to it’s credit. While filled with strong performances, the highlight is Carter (star of some of my indie genre favs like Darling and The Mind’s Eye) in the dual role of the titular alien and her human inspiration. The performance is a full on tour-de-force as the actress goes from wide-eyed and innocent in one scene to broken and worn down in another, both with complete believability…and yet, both characters come across as infinitely likable and sympathetic in their own ways. Also worth mentioning are the incredibly strong skills of Writer/Director Natasha Kermani who weaves an incredibly engaging narrative that never loses itself no matter how much the (beautiful) visuals take center stage. It’s an incredible feat that I have never seen executed so precisely…artfulness mixed with heart in equal measure.
There really isn’t anything left for me to say that isn’t going to be gushing praise; this is a heartfelt, beautifully realized, thoughtful film with a sci-fi candy coating that makes the whole affair that much more enjoyable. Highly recommended (and would make a great triple bill with The Man Who Fell to Earth and The Brother From Another Planet in case you cats are looking for a frame of reference)!