Woman of the Hour (R) TIFF

An intriguing aspect of the festival were the films that were directed my actors who are usually in front of the camera such as Kristin Scott Thomas, Anna Kendrick, Michael Keaton, and Chris Pine, all of whom I viewed their films. The one I especially enjoyed was “Woman of the Hour,” Anna Kendrick’s true crime story of the 70s serial killer Rodney Alcala, ironically, he appeared on the TV show “The Dating Game.”

The film centers on a struggling actor, Cheryl Bradshaw, played by Kendrick, who appears on “The Dating Game” as a contestant. A disturbing theme is the systemic misogyny that encourages violence, as women’s voices are silenced by law enforcement. This taunt thriller received a standing ovation and praise from myself and fellow critics. “Woman of the Hour” premiered at the “Princess of Whales” theater on September 8, 2023.

At the beginning of the film, we are introduced to killer Rodney Alcala as he seduces and brutally tortures and kills a woman in a remote part of LA’s desert. Daniel Zovatto’s appearance is altered to mirror Alcala’s creepy look; Zovatto is excellent in the film with his facial stares and nuanced scowls; he’s the glue that holds the film together. Bottom-line—he’s terrifying. Kendrick is excellent as always, as is the supporting cast. When she asks a co-director of “The Dating Game Show,” which one should choose?” She says, “Choose the one that won’t hurt you.” After she makes her choice, the woman says, “Oh, and I would be careful with number three,” after she watches him privately write something unsavory about a woman.

To not spoil the building mystery or end of the film, it’s better to go into it without knowing much. What I do know is that Netflix has picked it up, and it is slated to be released later this year. I also know that Rodney Alcala’s killing crime spree is projected at over 130 people. He was a registered sex offender when he appeared on “The Dating Game.”

Director: Anna Kendrick

Cast: Anna Kendrick, Tony Hale, Daniel Zovatto, Nicolette Robinson

Screenplay: Ian MacAllister McDonald

Studio: Netflix

Sarah Knight Adamson September 9, 2023