Eisabeth Moss tears up the screen in her all-consuming role as Becky Something. Moss, a versatile actor, really is something as a 1990s punk rock star on the skids with her addiction to drugs and drink that sends her into a downward spin. One can read into her character in this film written and directed by Alex Ross Perry a resemblance to other rock wrecks.
The trouble is that “Her Smell” is mostly harrowing to watch. Becky is abusive to virtually everyone around her. The tantrums she throws as a result of her being such an emotional mess take their toll. One can sympathize with Becky, but watching her is distasteful, at least until we see a more peaceful side late in the film when she has managed to change.
Becky’s band colleagues are played by Agyness Deyn and Gayle Rankin, and the women go through hell. Becky has a baby daughter and is hardly equipped to care for her. Other characters include Becky’s mother, Becky’s ex, as well as the owner of the company that produces Becky’s records.
The film acknowledges Becky’s rock talent, but the portrait is one of not only talent going to waste, but of a human being disintegrating before our eyes. Despite the film’s expertise and candid observance of self-destruction and Moss’s go-for-broke performance, one can grow tired of watching such a depressing drama.
We do get some relief when we see Becky in her improved state. But there has already been enough ugliness for more than one movie. Still, the performance by Moss will deservedly be remembered. Reviewed April 15, 2019.