Domestication: It’s not for everyone. In Marianna Palka’s latest film, “Bitch,” the concept of the domestic drama is gleefully upended, thanks to a natty twist on what it means to be expected to act a certain way. The filmmaker and actress stars in the film as beleaguered housewife Jill Hart, who snaps after her suburban existence is ruined by revelations that her dum-dum husband (Jason Ritter, playing hilariously against type) is cheating on her, all while their kids run roughshod over her.
Jill takes this domestication thing to crazy ends, literally assuming the psyche of a vicious dog, one who doesn’t care — and doesn’t have to — about the demands of her thankless life. While Bill and the kids attempt to manage this entirely unforeseen situation, Jill basically runs wild in the basement, finally free to give into her own worst impulses and be the bitch she’s always wanted to be.
Whatever will a family do? The film also stars Jaime King as Bill’s sister, alongside Brighton Sharbino, Rio Mangini, Kingston Foster, and Jason Maybaum.
In our review out of Sundance, our Eric Kohn wrote: “With its jittery formalism against the backdrop of a nightmarish suburban setting, Palka recalls Michael Haneke, but with an eye for surreal black comedy that suggests the anything-goes weirdness of Quentin Dupieux. Palka’s fourth feature is lightyears ahead of her last effort, the more conventional romantic drama ‘Good Dick,’ and even when ‘Bitch’ stumbles through some of its stranger moments it remains an uncompromising vision.”
And while Palka’s immense talents are obviously on full display here, it’s Ritter who gets away with some of the film’s more unexpectedly wild bits. As Kohn noted, the film “works best when it focuses on Bill’s ongoing shock at the sudden demand for his responsibility, as he fights through the task of delivering his kids to school and suddenly loses traction in the workplace. A fierce portrait of unwieldy comeuppance, it’s both hilarious and terrifying to watch Bill take in the strange events around him.”
Those first tinges of Bill’s woeful inability to deal are on display in our exclusive clip, which you can check out below. “Bitch” is in select theaters and on VOD today.