‘Felt’ Will Make You Uncomfortable

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felt_xlg“Everything is qualified by the fact that you don’t have a dick” – Amy

Felt begins with Amy (Amy Emerson), a young artist that seems to have an obsession with penis based art. After a sexually traumatic experience, Amy retreats into her own little world and begins to make a series of outfits that come complete with pseudo male genitalia. She parades these around in the woods near her home, as well as models a few on the upper deck of her home. Her best friend, Elizabeth (Elizabeth Ferrara), desperately tries to get Amy to come out of her shell and shrug off her rather insane behaviors. She takes Amy along on a date, but after Amy tries to start a fist fight with Elizabeth’s boyfriend she waves that off as well. Amy meets a friend at a photoshoot, and after a night of bar hoping and photographing men’s genitals, the two pick up a man from the bar and leave him stranded at a gas station. Amy runs into the man, Kenny (Kentucker Audley), again while she is dressed as a giant chicken, and for some reason he falls madly in love with her. Kenny works to bring Amy out of her shell, but he might not be as honest as he appears. Amy begins to slowly retreat back into herself, this time with violent consequences.

Let me start off by saying Felt is possibly the weirdest movie I’ve seen to date. Amy’s behaviors are so odd that it is seemingly impossible to believe that anyone would want to continue to associate with her, let alone go places alone with her. In the first few minutes, Amy admits she wants to die, goes to a party and spends time in the hallway of a hotel talking about what it would be like to go on a killing spree. If you’re looking for foreshadowing, Amy gives it to you almost immediately. Her obsession with the male form leads her to complete a full on man suit out of stretchy material, complete with a penis and balls. She wears this proudly, even trying to show it off to Elizabeth who clearly has had enough of trying to rescue her friend.

Felt is a deeply uncomfortable movie, and it is meant to be. For all Amy’s fears of encounters with men, she has possibly the most filthy mouth in the film. At one point, she is called out by one of the characters for having a “potty mouth” to which she responds that he shouldn’t “sh** in” her mouth. She speaks about penetrating a man with an octopus statue, and later shows the guy she dates a plate she made to look like rectal internet sensation Goatsee (if you haven’t seen it, don’t look it up). There is an entire sequence where her boyfriend, Kenny, helps her pass through a giant vagina painted on the wall in an attempt to be “reborn” into a safer world. They follow this by eating a vagina birthday cake.

While Felt struggles to bring awareness to the concept of male gaze, rape culture and violence towards women, it most frighteningly misses the mark on almost all counts because it wills itself to be so far out there. I will admit to being surprised I managed to watch the entire film. While I have no issue with women facing their sexuality on full force, I really didn’t need to see constant images of vaginas or penises throughout the film.  I am aware the director wants us to be as uncomfortable as a woman is on a day to day basis, but I’m sorry, watching a character remove a man’s penis with a pair of sewing sheers was a bit much. Think of the movie Hard Candy, and amplify it by about a thousand.

Felt is available on VOD and DVD July 21, 2015 from Amplify Releasing.

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