Writer/director Alex Ross Perry takes a break from telling stories of privileged but dissatisfied upper class white people with this week’s Her Smell. The movie stars Elisabeth Moss as Becky Something, the influential and innovative leader of a punk rock band who now is trying to get her life together.
Becky finds sobriety isn’t as creatively rewarding as the excess of drugs and alcohol that seemed to power her most successful work. As she struggles to keep the party going she also continues to be terrible toward her bandmates as well as everyone else around her.
We see Becky’s face, her tongue stuck out defiantly at everyone, on the poster, which is designed to look like a concert poster from the Bill Graham era of the 60s and 70s. Moss’ name is at the top while the festivals the movie has appeared at are below the photo, again shown like band names would have been in the heyday of early festivals. It’s a nice design that’s appropriate for the subject matter, which is nice.
The second poster is a closeup of Becky’s face with an intentionally ugly expression on it, the kind of thing female artists do all the time to obscure their looks and express a particular attitude. It’s meant to convey how Becky isn’t someone to play nice for the cameras or anyone else but is intent on remaining true to who she is, or who she feels she needs to be. There’s no copy or tagline, just the cast list, the TIFF logo and a pull quote from an early positive review.
Becky seems to be reevaluating her life in the trailer as we see her performing, recording, engaging in all manner of self-destructive behavior and pushing away those around her. It’s clearly the story of someone who is trying to get control of the whirlwind around her, even if that means drugs and violence.
Moss’ performance is really something, even just in what we see here. It’s evident this isn’t a sanitized look at a lifestyle or anything but one that allows the actress to explore all sorts of emotions and behaviors.
Online and Social
The official website has the usual barebones information on it, including the trailer and a synopsis. There are also profiles on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Those profiles were often used not just to promote the movie but also to celebrate the influence of real-life female punk and rock singers, something that’s nicely contextual with the story.
Advertising and Cross-Promotions
Nothing I’ve been exposed to or come across.
Media and Publicity
The movie had its big coming-out at the Toronto Film Festival, where it earned pretty enthusiastic word of mouth and positive buzz, mostly for Moss’s performance. The actress gave various interviews like this while there, talking about the process of making the movie and so on. A similar tone was struck in a joint interview between Perry and Moss and the frequent collaborations between the two were part of this profile.
There hasn’t been much of a press and publicity push offered. What interviews Moss did do were often dominated by conversations about “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which she stars in, and other projects or topics.
I mean…where’s the four-song EP of Becky Something tunes? Seems like it would have been a great tactic. If Into the Spider-Verse can do it, seems like a nature tie-in for a movie that’s actually about the music scene.
Aside from that, the strongest element the campaign has going for it is simply Moss. She continues to show she has a range that would be the envy of just about anyone and fully inhabits the characters she plays in a way few do. Most interesting, there’s little to no redemption story for Becky that’s on display here, so the message sent is that this is a flawed, troubled woman who may not pull out an upbeat ending, something that’s fairly rare.
Picking Up the Spare
More from Moss and Perry on the film’s themes and inspirations here.
Some of the cast were filmed as they experience a movie-themed escape room filled with clues related to the MCU as a whole and this film specifically.
Also some getting attention was the design of the movie’s retro album covers.
An official video for one of the songs featured in the movie was released.