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SXSW: Violet

Violet (Olivia Munn) is plagued by self-doubt. The Voice (Justin Theroux) is constantly reminding her of her insecurities, negating anything positive she thinks about herself and is sending her down  path of self-destruction. As a high-powered executive in the film industry, this inhibits her from personal and professional growth and from achieving any form of happiness. It doesn’t help that past traumas, her mother’s neglect, her brother’s disdain and a failed relationship that ended in literal flames, come back to haunt her. The Voice is in constant battle with her self-confidence, which offers Violet little glimmers of hope. There are good things in her life and good people too. Including Red (Luke Bracey), a handsome and understanding screenwriter whose opinion of her far exceeds her own for herself. Women in business, regardless of the industry, have an uphill battle, not only to breakthrough the barriers set by outdated gender norms but to fight against the impostor syndrome that society imposes upon us. Regardless of Violet’s support system of friends and colleagues, she must find a way to tap into that self-confidence and suppress the Voice on her own.

Written and directed by Justine Bateman, Violet visualizes self-doubt in a way that will resonate deeply with audiences, especially women who are often the victims of mansplaining and impostor syndrome. The Voice is presented through a man’s narration which epitomizes how society devalues women. Self-confidence is shown in the form of white cursive writing on screen. This visual-auditory representation of Violet’s thought process was incredibly effective. Bateman has hit a homerun with this brilliant depiction of internal strife and self-destruction and Munn delivers a wonderful performance as the title character.

Violet had its world premiere at the virtual 2021 SXSW Film Festival.