Daria Gamliel for Cinetalk.net

What do twins do when they grow out of their ‘let’s switch identities!’ phase? In Vivian and Marian’s case, they revisit this playful game as adults. Survivor (by Erin Vassilopoulos) introduces us to carefree Marian who seems to have escaped some sort of domestic abuse. She arrives at her perfect sister’s house after a 6-year estrangement. But looks can be deceiving, as we start to understand that Vivian with the more idyllic life, is in fact bored, depressed and lacking any life goals.

At first, their switcheroo isn’t meant to trick people, but to relieve one another from daily chores. Swapping tasks allows them to learn about each other. But not all the blanks are filled in, and Vivian’s uppity and controlling husband (disguised as a sweet guy) is miffed that Marion interferes with the couple’s privacy. It’s the late 80’s and maybe it was more normal back then, but Vivian is a kept woman. A housewife who takes her husband’s gaslighting because she doesn’t know a way around it. Evidently, the similarities between siblings goes beyond their clothing or their haircuts.

Real-life twins, Anamari and Alessandra Mesa take turns playing each other’s character. When the situation nears its climax, it is hard to remember who is who. Their Freaky Friday shenanigans get them into hot water, but also help them. A rather Lynchian finale doesn’t answer all the questions the viewer might have, but the mystery is charming. Overall, the whole film is well done. Cinetalk’s recommended watch!

 

Pendance Film Festival, March 10 – 13, 2022

For individual screening times, please consult https://pendancefilmfestival.ca/