DIRECTED BY

Andrew Dosunmu

 

STARRING
Michelle Pfeiffer

Kiefer Sutherland

 

RATED

NR

 

RELEASED IN

2018

 

RUNNING TIME

1 Hr., 38 Mins.

Michelle Pfeiffer in 2018's "Where is Kyra?."

Where is Kyra? August 24, 2018  

would. She is a divorcée; she has had to move in with her elderly mother, Ruth (Susan Shepherd), who is no longer able to take care of herself. Kyra hasn’t held a job for a few years: Mom needs round-the-clock care, and the latter’s pension checks are enough to keep them afloat anyway.

 

Where is Kyra? begins just as everything begins falling apart. Rather unexpectedly, Ruth dies, and leaves her finances askew. To pick up the pieces, Kyra begins looking for a job — even toiling away at a fast-food restaurant isn’t out of the question — but nothing comes from the search. She’s either out of touch, a bad interview, or simply too old. Many of the companies with whom she meets also tend to hire people already working within the company at the last minute.

 

She, understandably, grows desperate; late into the movie, Kyra, at the end of her rope, even asks her estranged ex-husband (Sam Robards) if he would consider letting her borrow some cash.

 

Kyra might have at one point believed herself moral. But something changes in her the more she sinks into poverty. Even though Ruth has died, pension checks keep coming in the mail. Against her better judgment, Kyra doesn’t correct this. She decides to exploit the mistake, and soon begins impersonating her mother to cash the checks.

She knows it’s wrong; her guilt is furthered when she begins having an affair with the similarly despairing cab driver Doug (Kiefer Sutherland), who eventually comes to understand what she’s up to and consistently scolds her for her behavior. But what else can she do?

 

Nothing will end well in Where is Kyra?: it is, in short, a tragedy concerned with the downfall of a hopeless woman. The movie is the third feature-length from the photographer and filmmaker Andrew Dosunmu; his last project, Mother of George, from 2013, comparatively centered itself around a woman caught in a nightmarish situation.

 

Dosunmu is a ruminative and patient filmmaker — and one whose visual aptitude is beneficial (the film is defined by sinister, tenebrous photography that complements Kyra’s unease). But his partiality toward the languorous is unrewarding. The dialogue, written by Darci Picoult, is scarce — and when it arises, it is stock —  and the movie, though sympathetic toward Kyra’s plight, doesn’t dig into her neuroses enough to make her pain tangible.

 

Where is Kyra? is fortunate to have Pfeiffer, who clearly relishes this substantial a role and is exceptional as a result. I long for a Michellessaince built off complicated parts like this one — but if a bonafide reemergence comes about, I yearn for offerings more forthright than the intelligent but otherwise unnecessarily desiccated Where is Kyra?C+

W

here is Kyra? (2018), bleak and claustrophobic, is a movie that wonders how its protagonist got to this place. In no doubt, its demure heroine, Kyra Johnson (a career-best Michelle Pfeiffer), used to live a respectable life: we can tell as she tries to sell herself during fruitless job interviews; as she makes small talk with people who used to be important to her.

 

It is obvious that her life has not played out the way she thought it