Sophia Takal's sophomore feature follows two friends, Anna and Beth, both actresses with varying degrees of success, as they travel to Big Sur for a weekend getaway in hopes of reconnecting and reestablishing a bond broken by years of competitiveness and jealousy. Once away, tension bubbles to the surface, forcing them to finally confront their issues — and to lose grasp of their own identities in the process. Building on the theme of jealousy that permeated her debut feature GREEN, Takal explores the nature of female friendships and what it means to be feminine in the eyes of others. Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald sink their teeth into the roles of Anna and Beth, straddling a delicate line between melodrama and realism. Reminiscent of films like Robert Altman's 3 WOMEN (1977) and other films about "psychotic women" from the 1970s, ALWAYS SHINE is a modern take that marks Takal as an important filmmaker to watch. — Jenn Murphy
Sophia Takal wrote, directed and starred in the critically acclaimed narrative feature GREEN (AFI FEST 2011), which won the SXSW Emerging Female Director award, and was nominated for a Gotham Award. ALWAYS SHINE, starring Mackenzie Davis and Caitlin FitzGerald, is her second feature as director.