By Don Simpson | February 23, 2016
Director: Zoe Cassavetes
Writers: Zoe Cassavetes, Alexia Landeau
Starring: Alexia Landeau, Brooke Smith, Melanie Griffith, Alessandro Nivola, Vincent Kartheiser, Cheyenne Jackson, Eddie Izzard
Mia (Alexia Landeau) is a fading Hollywood starlet, but her lack of appeal in Hollywood is not a reflection on her talents as an actor. The problem is that roles for 40-year-old actresses in Hollywood are a dime a dozen. At her age, Mia is considered to be over the hill; too old to play leading roles. The only auditions that she seems to get called for are for raunchy art house flicks and supporting television roles as mothers. Even Mia’s agent (Brooke Smith) wants to dump her. It is a humiliating and sorry existence compared to the glamorous lifestyle that she enjoyed ten or so years ago. Mia, however, does not have any intentions of giving up; she just needs to find a way to reinvent herself before she crashes into a depressed, alcoholic stupor.
In addition to her career woes, Mia lives in a world in which women are identified by their [male] significant others. So, Mia finds herself listless after her tabloid headlining break up with Liam (Alessandro Nivola). Mia struggles to remain relevant without a viable career or romantic partner to define her.
Thus, Zoe Cassavetes’ Day Out of Days contemplates whether Mia can still define herself within an unabashedly sexist industry. A scathingly critical commentary on Hollywood’s treatment of actresses, Day Out of Days presents a sad but true universe in which women not only get paid significantly less than their male counterparts, but the lifespan of their careers is also significantly shorter. And if you do not believe Cassavetes, just look at the age and gender disparity on Hollywood’s A-list.
Cassavetes purposefully places substance over style, with a verbose social commentary that relies solely upon the heft of its dialogue. There is nothing remarkably cinematic about Day Out of Days, per se. It plays like a mature, post-mumblecore film — not that there is anything wrong with that. Let us just avoid comparing Day Out of Days to her father’s oeuvre, because that would totally go against this film’s profoundly unapologetic feminist spirit. With Broken English (2007) and Day Out of Days, Cassavetes has proven that she has her own voice that deserves to be considered independent of her genetic pedigree; she continues to define herself in an inherently patronizing industry that refuses to support women.