Maggie Gyllenhaal On Playing Hookers And Porn Stars, Donald Trump’s ‘Deuce’ Connection, And Taking Control Of Her Career – The Actor’s Side

Maggie Gyllenhaal kicks off the new Emmy season of The Actor’s Side, my Deadline series that focuses on the art and craft of acting with today’s top stars. Gyllenhaal came to our studio to talk about HBO’s The Deucethe edgy series about the explosion of porn in the early 1970s in New York City — she plays a hooker named Candy who gets sucked into this world and becomes a porn actress and filmmaker. Sound like Stormy Daniels? I asked her if there was any connection, as…

Maggie Gyllenhaal kicks off the new Emmy season of The Actor’s Side, my Deadline series that focuses on the art and craft of acting with today’s top stars. Gyllenhaal came to our studio to talk about HBO’s The Deucethe edgy series about the explosion of porn in the early 1970s in New York City — she plays a hooker named Candy who gets sucked into this world and becomes a porn actress and filmmaker. Sound like Stormy Daniels? I asked her if there was any connection, as…

‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ Review: Maggie Gyllenhaal Delivers an A+ Performance in a Tense Moral Thriller — Sundance 2018

Maggie Gyllenhaal single-handedly justifies this harrowing remake about a teacher who gets a little too invested in her best student.

“Kung Fu” star David Carradine, the great warrior-philosopher of the 20th century, once said: “If you can’t be the poet, be the poem.” He makes it sound so easy — as though deferring your story to someone else wouldn’t feel like an act of defenestration — but then again, the man seldom met a problem he couldn’t high-kick into submission.

Lisa Spinelli (a captivating Maggie Gyllenhaal) has no such luck. The eponymous, fortysomething educator at the heart of Sara Colangelo’s “The Kindergarten Teacher,” Lisa has spent the last 20 years of her life teaching kids the alphabet and shepherding them to the next stop on the assembly line of America’s school system, and she’s finally beginning to succumb to the banality of it all.

You can see it in her posture as she sits in her classroom at the end of the day, her long body slumped against a chair built for a child. You can hear it in her voice, which has naturally become slow and serene after two decades of talking down to five-year-olds; it’s like a gust of summer wind, gentle and empty. Most of all, you can feel it in the nighttime poetry course she attends once a week in a dank university classroom somewhere along her commute back to Staten Island. There’s nothing inherently sad about adults trying to expand their horizons, especially when the instructor (Gael Garcia Bernal) runs the room with such contagious enthusiasm, but it’s hard to ignore the desperation in Lisa’s eyes. She needs this just a little bit too much. Alas, Lisa’s poetry is awful — well, “awful” isn’t the right word, but the truth of the matter is even worse: her poetry is mundane. And she knows it.

Read More: The 2018 IndieWire Sundance Bible: Every Review, Interview, and News Item Posted During the Festival

So when one of Lisa’s five-year-old students starts walking around her classroom in a trance and reciting some very beautiful lines of original verse, the teacher is instantly both rapt and rattled. Little Jimmy Roy (Parker Sevak) has never stood out to her before, but it doesn’t take long for Lisa to believe that she has a young Mozart on her hands. Jimmy’s family isn’t interested in nurturing the boy’s genius (his father is a real F. Murray Abraham about it, essentially telling Lisa that he doesn’t see a lot of money here), so Lisa decides to take matters into her own hands. Things only escalate from there, the butter sliding off the knife as she desperately tries to protect Jimmy’s remarkable gift before it’s snuffed out by a callous world that doesn’t know what to do with beautiful things. If Lisa can’t be the poet, she’ll have to be the poem.

The twists and turns that lie in store for poor Lisa are too cringe-worthy to reveal here, but it’s safe to say that anyone expecting something light and fluffy in the vein of last year’s “Gifted” are in for a rude surprise. An exceptionally acted but exceedingly faithful remake of Nadav Lapid’s 2014 Israeli film of the same name, “The Kindergarten Teacher” is a harrowing ride, packing the nail-biting moral panic of a great thriller into a tilted character study about a woman coming undone as she screams into the void. While Colangelo sorely lacks Lapid’s autobiographical insight and his formal virtuosity (the “Little Accidents” director opting for a straightforward approach that strips this version of the original’s roving and intimate camerawork), she understands every inch of Lisa’s  situation, and mines a fiercely brilliant turn from Maggie Gyllenhaal.

Gyllenhaal has been too good too often to label any one of her performances as her best, but she’s certainly never been better than she is here. In a remake that has little purpose beyond translating a good story for a global audience, Gyllenhaal almost single-handedly justifies the whole project, filling her character with the full courage of her convictions, and finding deep reservoirs of distressed humanity in all of her contradictions. You believe that Lisa is a great teacher and an unhinged lunatic. You believe that she’s sincere in her support of Jimmy’s poetry and that she’s selfishly using the little boy as an opportunity to transcend the banality of her own life (which comes with an average husband and two teenage kids who can smell their mother’s disappointment in herself). You believe that Jimmy’s poetry is wasted on our world and that Lisa is finding the wrong answers to the right questions.

Gyllenhaal always knows exactly where she is in each scene, Lisa transitioning from interested teacher to predatory madwoman so smoothly that it’s almost seamless, even though she fully earns every one of her many new lows. The ambiguities of her performance — the inexplicable cracks that she leaves in Lisa’s character — only make her all the more compelling; this isn’t a movie that’s interested in right and wrong, but rather in the maddening task of reconciling the two.

And while Gyllenhaal’s work should be enough to satisfy anyone wondering why this movie needed to be made twice, Colangelo makes fine use of the story’s new American context. Jimmy is at least half-Indian, and the optics of a white adult trying to co-opt the talents of a little brown boy are loaded enough to add an extra ounce of uncomfortable weight to every scene. Colangelo also seizes on our uniquely anti-intellectual culture with merciful restraint, the writer-director creating a world so crass that Jimmy’s poetry stands out like a flower growing through a chewed up Manhattan sidewalk. Just as importantly, the writer-director exhibits a firm grasp on what bad poetry feels like; how real but intangible the margin is between beauty and bullshit. Colangelo can intuit the difference. Lisa’s problem is that she can intuit it, too. It’s not that she doesn’t have talent, it’s that she knows that she doesn’t have talent. She sees so much poetry in the world; the tragedy is she’s powerless to capture it.

Grade: B+

“The Kindergarten Teacher” premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. It is currently seeking distribution.

Sundance 2018 Augmented Reality Art: Inside the NSX Gallery at the Acura Lounge

While 2018 festival goers have packed the Egyptian, the Ray, the Eccles and the Library to catch buzzy titles like “Search,” “Juliet, Naked,” “Monster,” and “Blindspotting” on the big screen, the visual arts in Park City are going beyond traditional single-screen cinema.

 

Photographer Ruben Wu created the Acura NSX Gallery, an immersive, multi-screen, augmented reality, 360 degree visual installation open to the public in Acura’s Festival Village.

Wu built visuals around a 2018 Acura NSX traveling through massive landscape time-lapses shot in Death Valley. The digital journey is a three-minute seamless tour covering 24 hours of desert panorama.

Also Read: Chloë Sevigny, Michael Shannon and More Sundance Portraits From TheWrap at the Acura Studios (Photos)

 

“When they are immersed in these beautiful landscapes, we hope Acura NSX Gallery guests can envision what it would be like to take our supercar out on the open road,” said Jennifer Cody, manager of experiential marketing for Acura.

Sundance 2018: Peek Inside Acura’s Art Installation (Branded)Neilson Barnard

“Once they step outside, they can take a piece of the gallery experience with them and share their photos or GIFs,” said Cody.

The digital peaks provide a peak social media photo stop for guests passing through the festival village.

Also Read: Sundance Scene and Heard: Black Eyed Peas, Issa Rae, Joaquin Phoenix and More (Photos)

The installation anchors the south end of Acura’s Immersive Festival Village, a complex of indoor and outdoor venues and activities on Swede Alley open to the general public. In addition to daily music performances during happy hour, TheWrap has embedded there as our own festival HQ.

Sara Colangelo and actor Maggie Gyllenhaal of ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ talk with TheWrap’s Matt Donnelly. (Neilson Barnard)

Also Read: Sundance So Far: Festival Gets Woke With Strong Set of Diverse Films

Top festival talent, like Sara Colangelo and Maggie Gyllenhaal (above) have stopped in to TheWrap’s interview and photo studio on site. Below, the team from “Search” (John Cho, director Aneesh Chaganty and Debra Messing) sat with TheWrap hours before the film sold to Sony Worldwide Acquisitions for $5 million, the largest deal of the festival so far.

John Cho, director Aneesh Chaganty and actor Debra Messing of ‘Search’. (Neilson Barnard)

TheWrap’s Party Report at Sundance is sponsored by Acura, the presenting sponsor of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Keep up with real-time images of the scene in Park City on @SundanceParties on Instagram.

The Party Report and this writer are not affiliated with nor endorsed by the Sundance Institute or the Sundance Film Festival.

Related stories from TheWrap:

John Cho, Debra Messing Thriller ‘Search’ Sells to Sony Worldwide for $5 Million

Sundance Scene and Heard: Black Eyed Peas, Issa Rae, Joaquin Phoenix and More (Photos)

83 Sundance Portraits From TheWrap at Acura Studios With Keira Knightley, Robert Pattinson and More (Photos)

While 2018 festival goers have packed the Egyptian, the Ray, the Eccles and the Library to catch buzzy titles like “Search,” “Juliet, Naked,” “Monster,” and “Blindspotting” on the big screen, the visual arts in Park City are going beyond traditional single-screen cinema.

 

Photographer Ruben Wu created the Acura NSX Gallery, an immersive, multi-screen, augmented reality, 360 degree visual installation open to the public in Acura’s Festival Village.

Wu built visuals around a 2018 Acura NSX traveling through massive landscape time-lapses shot in Death Valley. The digital journey is a three-minute seamless tour covering 24 hours of desert panorama.

 

“When they are immersed in these beautiful landscapes, we hope Acura NSX Gallery guests can envision what it would be like to take our supercar out on the open road,” said Jennifer Cody, manager of experiential marketing for Acura.

Sundance 2018: Peek Inside Acura’s Art Installation (Branded)Neilson Barnard

“Once they step outside, they can take a piece of the gallery experience with them and share their photos or GIFs,” said Cody.

The digital peaks provide a peak social media photo stop for guests passing through the festival village.

The installation anchors the south end of Acura’s Immersive Festival Village, a complex of indoor and outdoor venues and activities on Swede Alley open to the general public. In addition to daily music performances during happy hour, TheWrap has embedded there as our own festival HQ.

Sara Colangelo and actor Maggie Gyllenhaal of ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ talk with TheWrap’s Matt Donnelly. (Neilson Barnard)

Top festival talent, like Sara Colangelo and Maggie Gyllenhaal (above) have stopped in to TheWrap’s interview and photo studio on site. Below, the team from “Search” (John Cho, director Aneesh Chaganty and Debra Messing) sat with TheWrap hours before the film sold to Sony Worldwide Acquisitions for $5 million, the largest deal of the festival so far.

John Cho, director Aneesh Chaganty and actor Debra Messing of ‘Search’. (Neilson Barnard)

TheWrap’s Party Report at Sundance is sponsored by Acura, the presenting sponsor of the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Keep up with real-time images of the scene in Park City on @SundanceParties on Instagram.

The Party Report and this writer are not affiliated with nor endorsed by the Sundance Institute or the Sundance Film Festival.

Related stories from TheWrap:

John Cho, Debra Messing Thriller 'Search' Sells to Sony Worldwide for $5 Million

Sundance Scene and Heard: Black Eyed Peas, Issa Rae, Joaquin Phoenix and More (Photos)

83 Sundance Portraits From TheWrap at Acura Studios With Keira Knightley, Robert Pattinson and More (Photos)

Sundance Scene: Musical Performances from Idris Elba, Post Malone and Maggie Gyllenhaal (Photos)

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Martha Wainwright (Rufus’ sister) sang “Papa Was a Rodeo” together on Saturday at a party for the Autograph Collection Hotels & The Black List. “I need one more drink of tequila,” she said after admitting, “my brother and I sometimes try to figure out the harmonies that [Martha] and her brother sing on some of her albums.”

It’s my party and I’ll DJ if I want to, DJ if I want to…

DJ Idris Elba took over the decks on the second floor of the Grey Goose Blue Door on Saturday night during his party for “Yardie,” his feature film directorial debut. This got him in a musical mindset for the night…

Also Read: Idris Elba Insists He Wasn’t Thinking About Modern Race Issues With ’70s-Set ‘Yardie’ (Video)

Elba turned up at TAO later on Saturday night as one of the featured head-turning guests. Johnny Damon and Tom Felton also made the scene at The Yard, where Don Julio’s top of the line 1942 magnums anchored the  VIP tables.

Post Malone burned the promoters at Park City Live. After performing a sold out show there earlier on Saturday night, he made a second stop at Tao, rolling in at 2 a.m. with a big entourage. They took over the DJ booth from DJ Politik to perform “White Iverson” and  “Congratulations.” Posty’s next stop: Coachella in April.

Seeing digital cipher Poppy in person is an odd experience because there are no cracks in the part-android/part-human performer online.  She headlined YouTube’s house party on Saturday night, a few days before her new YouTube Red Original series “I’m Poppy” debuts as an official festival selection.

A view of the line out side on Saturday night. Google/YouTube Space on Heber is a two-story venue that has been a restaurant and the home of NBCUniversal’s parties in the past. YouTube is not crashing the Sundance scene. This is the sixth year that they have been the official sponsor of the Festival’s Shorts program.

Paul Oakenfold was not the one “Really Cool Dude” at ChefDance’s “49 Remarkable Women + 1 Really Cool Dude” event (though he was there).

It was Scooter Braun. Gloria Allred addressed him from the podium: “Scooter, you’re the one cool dude, because I’ve sued all the rest.”

Also Read: Gloria Allred on Daughter Lisa Bloom Working for Harvey Weinstein: ‘I Would Have Declined’

Geena Davis threw a party to promote her Bentonville Film Festival, an emerging festival in Arkansas each May that focuses on female voices in cinema. Here, Janina Gavankar of “Blindspotting”, and Anika Noni Rose and Colman Domingo (Both of “Assassination Nation”) enjoy Ms. Davis’ hospitality inside the DIRECTV Lodge presented by AT&T at the bottom of Main.

Remnants from the Respect Rally earlier in the day – like signs and buttons like these for Planned Parenthood –  floated around Park City on Saturday. Here, Caren Spruch, Melanie Lynskey, Jason Ritter and Dawn Laguens are still rally-ready at “The Tale” party on Saturday night.

Also Read: Common, Jane Fonda and the Scene at the Respect Rally in Sundance (Photos)

After the march, people ducked in to bars to get out of the snow and slush.  Here, Bridey Elliot and Haley Joel Osment at Rock & Reilly’s. As one of the last places slinging swat in the post-gifting suite era, Roku handed out the Streaming Stick+.

Aubrey Plaza was the toast of the 2017 festival by stalking Lizzie Olsen in “Ingrid Goes West.” This year, she came to support Chloe Sevigny at the after party for “Lizzie,” one of the buzzy titles around town. The Lizzie Borden story, about the woman accused of killing her father and stepmother in Massachusetts in 1892, had a packed party Friday night at the Cafe Artois, in the Stella Artois down a steep staircase under Main Street.

Molly Shannon x Kathryn Hahn hug it out at the DIRECTV Lodge presented by AT&T. L.A.’s prom king Jeffrey Best (event production designer) built out a gorgeous three-room space that also includes a pop-up of industry favorite Craig’s.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance Scene and Heard: Black Eyed Peas, Issa Rae, Joaquin Phoenix and More (Photos)

Sundance 2018: A Music Fan’s Guide to Concerts, Appearances in Park City

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Martha Wainwright (Rufus’ sister) sang “Papa Was a Rodeo” together on Saturday at a party for the Autograph Collection Hotels & The Black List. “I need one more drink of tequila,” she said after admitting, “my brother and I sometimes try to figure out the harmonies that [Martha] and her brother sing on some of her albums.”

It’s my party and I’ll DJ if I want to, DJ if I want to…

DJ Idris Elba took over the decks on the second floor of the Grey Goose Blue Door on Saturday night during his party for “Yardie,” his feature film directorial debut. This got him in a musical mindset for the night…

Elba turned up at TAO later on Saturday night as one of the featured head-turning guests. Johnny Damon and Tom Felton also made the scene at The Yard, where Don Julio’s top of the line 1942 magnums anchored the  VIP tables.

Post Malone burned the promoters at Park City Live. After performing a sold out show there earlier on Saturday night, he made a second stop at Tao, rolling in at 2 a.m. with a big entourage. They took over the DJ booth from DJ Politik to perform “White Iverson” and  “Congratulations.” Posty’s next stop: Coachella in April.

Seeing digital cipher Poppy in person is an odd experience because there are no cracks in the part-android/part-human performer online.  She headlined YouTube’s house party on Saturday night, a few days before her new YouTube Red Original series “I’m Poppy” debuts as an official festival selection.

A view of the line out side on Saturday night. Google/YouTube Space on Heber is a two-story venue that has been a restaurant and the home of NBCUniversal’s parties in the past. YouTube is not crashing the Sundance scene. This is the sixth year that they have been the official sponsor of the Festival’s Shorts program.

Paul Oakenfold was not the one “Really Cool Dude” at ChefDance’s “49 Remarkable Women + 1 Really Cool Dude” event (though he was there).

It was Scooter Braun. Gloria Allred addressed him from the podium: “Scooter, you’re the one cool dude, because I’ve sued all the rest.”

Geena Davis threw a party to promote her Bentonville Film Festival, an emerging festival in Arkansas each May that focuses on female voices in cinema. Here, Janina Gavankar of “Blindspotting”, and Anika Noni Rose and Colman Domingo (Both of “Assassination Nation”) enjoy Ms. Davis’ hospitality inside the DIRECTV Lodge presented by AT&T at the bottom of Main.

Remnants from the Respect Rally earlier in the day – like signs and buttons like these for Planned Parenthood –  floated around Park City on Saturday. Here, Caren Spruch, Melanie Lynskey, Jason Ritter and Dawn Laguens are still rally-ready at “The Tale” party on Saturday night.

After the march, people ducked in to bars to get out of the snow and slush.  Here, Bridey Elliot and Haley Joel Osment at Rock & Reilly’s. As one of the last places slinging swat in the post-gifting suite era, Roku handed out the Streaming Stick+.

Aubrey Plaza was the toast of the 2017 festival by stalking Lizzie Olsen in “Ingrid Goes West.” This year, she came to support Chloe Sevigny at the after party for “Lizzie,” one of the buzzy titles around town. The Lizzie Borden story, about the woman accused of killing her father and stepmother in Massachusetts in 1892, had a packed party Friday night at the Cafe Artois, in the Stella Artois down a steep staircase under Main Street.

Molly Shannon x Kathryn Hahn hug it out at the DIRECTV Lodge presented by AT&T. L.A.’s prom king Jeffrey Best (event production designer) built out a gorgeous three-room space that also includes a pop-up of industry favorite Craig’s.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance Scene and Heard: Black Eyed Peas, Issa Rae, Joaquin Phoenix and More (Photos)

Sundance 2018: A Music Fan's Guide to Concerts, Appearances in Park City

‘The Kindergarten Teacher’ Maggie Gyllenhaal On What It Means To Make A “Feminine Movie” — Sundance Studio

“I’m interested in what it means to make a feminine movie – and that’s different I guess from feminist, or maybe it isn’t,” Maggie Gyllenhaal said yesterday, sitting down with writer/director Sara Colangelo to discuss The Kindergarten Teacher.
An alum of Sundance’s Writers and Directors Labs, Colangelo’s second feature centers on the discontented Lisa Spinelli (Gyllenhaal), who feels stuck in her unsatisfying marriage and her life as a kindergarten teacher on Staten…

“I'm interested in what it means to make a feminine movie – and that's different I guess from feminist, or maybe it isn't,” Maggie Gyllenhaal said yesterday, sitting down with writer/director Sara Colangelo to discuss The Kindergarten Teacher. An alum of Sundance’s Writers and Directors Labs, Colangelo’s second feature centers on the discontented Lisa Spinelli (Gyllenhaal), who feels stuck in her unsatisfying marriage and her life as a kindergarten teacher on Staten…

Sundance Film Review: ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’

We live in an era where the specter and awareness of child abuse is so pervasive that you can’t just throw that issue into a narrative without really taking it on — doing anything less would be like introducing the proverbial gun and then never having anyone fire it. Based on Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s […]

We live in an era where the specter and awareness of child abuse is so pervasive that you can’t just throw that issue into a narrative without really taking it on — doing anything less would be like introducing the proverbial gun and then never having anyone fire it. Based on Israeli director Nadav Lapid’s […]

Maggie Gyllenhaal Teeters at Edge of Art and Madness as ‘The Kindergarten Teacher’

When women breach social stereotypes and act unpredictably, it is often called madness.

In “The Kindergarten Teacher,” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as the title character, a disturbing alternative is offered: Perhaps it is just Art.

The film in dramatic competition at Sundance, written and directed by Sara Colangelo, stars Gyllenhaal as Lisa, a forty-something teacher who discovers that one of her five-year-old charges is a budding, genius poet.

Also Read: Robert Redford Says #MeToo Will Help Women in Hollywood (Video)

Married on Long Island with two teenage kids who have little to do with her, Lisa is nothing if not a typical working mom. But she believes there is more to her.

A struggling poet herself, Lisa finds herself drawn to tiny Jimmy with his fringed brown eyes who seems to birth entire verses at once with no effort — profound words about love, nature, wild beasts and God.

Slowly Lisa is sucked into an obsession with nurturing a genius, especially since Jimmy’s nightclub-owning father seems uninterested in his son’s talent. She finds herself gradually crossing lines and breaking boundaries — starting with substituting Jimmy’s work for her own in a poetry class she’s taking at night, to sleeping with the instructor (Gael Garcia Bernal) to a final stage of no return.

Is it madness? Or is it an artist channeling her long-suppressed need for expression, any kind of expression?

Gyllenhaal offers a beautifully nuanced performance full of intelligence and desperation. She taps into something deep about the unmet emotional needs of a woman whose life is spent putting forth energy toward others.

Also Read: ‘Three Identical Strangers’ Film Review: Documentary Follows Separated Triplets Down Some Tragic Life Paths

Her performance is met note for note by five-year-old Parker Sevak, who is entirely convincing as a wise little boy who is still, at base, a little boy.

“As women we don’t see many movies out there that express our experience,” said Gyllenhaal at the premiere screening at Park City, Utah on Friday. “When I saw an opportunity to express everything, it was so unique.”

Director Colangelo (“Little Accidents”) adapted the story from an Israeli film, and the project features a group of all-women producers, including Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Talia Kleinhendler and Osnat Handelsman-Keren.

Colangelo said after the screening: “Lisa is someone getting trampled and not being listened to,” which leads her ultimately to cross “sacred boundaries.” The story, she said, “floats in allegory as well. She is not a woman going mad but a woman spiraling out of control because she’s not being fed.”

The film is for sale and being represented by Endeavor Content.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance 2018: A Music Fan’s Guide to Concerts, Appearances in Park City

TheWrap Presents Live Interviews, Photos at the Acura Studio At Sundance 2018

MoviePass to Co-Acquire Movies With Distributors, Starting at Sundance

When women breach social stereotypes and act unpredictably, it is often called madness.

In “The Kindergarten Teacher,” starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as the title character, a disturbing alternative is offered: Perhaps it is just Art.

The film in dramatic competition at Sundance, written and directed by Sara Colangelo, stars Gyllenhaal as Lisa, a forty-something teacher who discovers that one of her five-year-old charges is a budding, genius poet.

Married on Long Island with two teenage kids who have little to do with her, Lisa is nothing if not a typical working mom. But she believes there is more to her.

A struggling poet herself, Lisa finds herself drawn to tiny Jimmy with his fringed brown eyes who seems to birth entire verses at once with no effort — profound words about love, nature, wild beasts and God.

Slowly Lisa is sucked into an obsession with nurturing a genius, especially since Jimmy’s nightclub-owning father seems uninterested in his son’s talent. She finds herself gradually crossing lines and breaking boundaries — starting with substituting Jimmy’s work for her own in a poetry class she’s taking at night, to sleeping with the instructor (Gael Garcia Bernal) to a final stage of no return.

Is it madness? Or is it an artist channeling her long-suppressed need for expression, any kind of expression?

Gyllenhaal offers a beautifully nuanced performance full of intelligence and desperation. She taps into something deep about the unmet emotional needs of a woman whose life is spent putting forth energy toward others.

Her performance is met note for note by five-year-old Parker Sevak, who is entirely convincing as a wise little boy who is still, at base, a little boy.

“As women we don’t see many movies out there that express our experience,” said Gyllenhaal at the premiere screening at Park City, Utah on Friday. “When I saw an opportunity to express everything, it was so unique.”

Director Colangelo (“Little Accidents”) adapted the story from an Israeli film, and the project features a group of all-women producers, including Celine Rattray, Trudie Styler, Talia Kleinhendler and Osnat Handelsman-Keren.

Colangelo said after the screening: “Lisa is someone getting trampled and not being listened to,” which leads her ultimately to cross “sacred boundaries.” The story, she said, “floats in allegory as well. She is not a woman going mad but a woman spiraling out of control because she’s not being fed.”

The film is for sale and being represented by Endeavor Content.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Sundance 2018: A Music Fan's Guide to Concerts, Appearances in Park City

TheWrap Presents Live Interviews, Photos at the Acura Studio At Sundance 2018

MoviePass to Co-Acquire Movies With Distributors, Starting at Sundance