All of us, in one way or another, play a different role depending on whether we are with our family, friends, or at work, but what if this was a real purpose in life, as in this 2022 movie, The Ordinaries?
In this strange world, each person lives in relation to the significance of their career and profession inside the moviemaking industry.
Besides the various stage handlers, costume designers, and directors, most people split between the more fortunate leads and those who have to endure only supporting roles, not to mention the Outtakes, the bottom of society.
Those are actors with sync problems with their voices, or they are black and white, or they have other flaws such as glitches of time displacement.
The protagonist of our story is young Paula, a 16-year-old girl who is close to her major test to become a leading actress, being the daughter of a famous player and living with her mother, Elisa, who is instead only a secondary character.
While preparing for her final exam, she decides to investigate more about her father’s past since he is the subject of the touching monologue she wants to perform.
However, in the vast and well-organized Central Archives, she finds no trace of even a movie where he is the protagonist, so she gets help from the bizarre waiter working in her best friend’s giant mansion.
As she later discovers, this man is actually an Outtake, so she follows him out of town to the area where all the outcasts live.
In that place, forgotten by all and far from the bright lights of movie sets, Paula will discover the truth her mother, Elisa, always withheld, learning how people in the lowest and most mistreated layer of society really live.
Fake cinema is like real-life
Like the unfortunate Outtakes in this story, The Ordinaries is one of the 2022 movies most ignored and mistreated by the film industry.
Sophie Linnenbaum directs and co-writes with Michael Fetter Nathansky a quite peculiar tale, which unfortunately could not meet the favor of the general public and did not enjoy large-scale international distribution.
I’m not trying to be clever, and I don’t usually like to say that something is not for everyone; still, in this case, you must have the proper appetite for social metaphor and, of course, dare to look inward.
Scene after scene, it is inevitable to take as a comparison your personal life, from your family to your work, as if we were the real protagonists of the story we are witnessing.
We often prefer to ignore the truth that our society is divided into classes and the distribution of wealth is often unfair, beyond merit and actual ability, and that we often end up in wealth or poverty depending on our luck at being born in the right place and growing up among the right people.
In this case, we explore the disparities between the various social levels through the lying and magnificent lens of movie magic, where the obsession with being a protagonist obviously mirrors the social wish to get ahead at all costs.
As in the real world, fortunately, it is not just about getting higher and succeeding for everyone: so young Paula decides that it is more essential to discover herself than to pass a stupid exam.
No one ever steps out of their role; in the story, everyone always acts as if they were in front of a camera, but the danger of always following the script is that sometimes we forget who we are.
Never step outside the role
We must also emphasize the passion and skill of the entire cast, a group of actors pretending to be actors, starting with (wanna-be) protagonist Fine Sendel.
After all, the social situation of this absurd world resembles a teenager’s life: not yet men and women, wandering merrily and sadly from one moment to the next without having a specific identity or role, perpetually searching for something.
Young Paula just wants a safe place to be, and who can blame her? Unfortunately, her chest song system doesn’t work well; sometimes, it gets stuck and doesn’t play anything, which throws off the rhythm of her life and playing.
Even better, though in a (literally) secondary role, is the extraordinary Jule Böwe, as her mother, Elisa, eternally resigned to being a character in the background.
Not surprisingly, in every dialogue, she always seems to have unimportant and trivial lines, but be warned: that is precisely the point and essence of this woman’s beauty, able to exist in a world that constantly ignores her, perhaps even being happy once in a while.
In this sense, the character of Henning Peker, a strange and friendly waiter with a secret life at Outtake working incognito inside a family of leads, is very similar.
These leads never seem real; they sing and dance as if they were in a musical and are always too cheerful and over the top.
In contrast, the real poetry comes from the suffering and passion of poor ghettos people, where the Outtakes cannot even dare to sing under their breath without the police raiding their homes.
On the other hand, I can only recommend with all my passion The Ordinaries, a movie that lost its limelight in 2022 when there were too many other major competitors.