The Braves

Alma is this character who is larger than life. She’s a whirlwind of energy and passion. She seems like she’d be a good laugh on a night out, and also could start a fight in an empty house. A wee drama llama.

Her best friend is Margot. They are both aspiring actresses and go on auditions together. Alma brings Margot out her shell a bit more, and challenges her. Margot grounds Alma, and comforts her when the highs become the lows.

At the beginning of the film, Alma scores her first part as the lead in a play. Margot, who also auditioned for the part, gets cast as her understudy. Margot is genuinely happy for Alma, and Alma is delighted. It means they get to practice and rehearse with each other, hang out every day.

But that all goes to shit when Alma collapses on stage on day during rehearsals. She has cancer, and she’s kept how sick she is from Margot, from everyone. Margot is devastated, but Alma’s mum convinces her to keep rehearsing with Alma in the hospital. The only thing keeping Alma going is the idea she might be able to get out here someday and finish the run as the lead in the play.

The relationship between the two women change. Not so much because of Alma’s jealousy, she does feel a spike of it, but when she sees Margot is still on her side, she reconciles herself to the fact Margot will have to go on for at least the first few shows. No, the biggest change is the weight of guilt Margot feels. For being the lead in the play, for having some success in her career, for being able to laugh and relax over drinks with friends, for be healthy, for being alive. Every joy feels like a betrayal. Yet, she can’t let her spirits down, she has to be strong for Alma.

Throughout the film Alma is delusional about her capacity to return to the show, and Margot tries to protect her from some of her more unlikely ambitions, while at the same time, herself buying into the possibility of hope. These two women really love each other, with a fierceness that is only matched by the intensity of their grief.

A film about love and friendship, sisterhood and the fundamentals of life and death.

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