First look Apple TV+ review: Losing Alice
Ivan | On 24, Jan 2021
“I think the only reason to make a movie is if you can’t help it,” says Alice (Ayelet Zurer), a director who hasn’t made a movie in quite a few years. She’s stunned out of her creative fog when she crosses paths with Sophie (Lihi Kornowski), a young screenwriter who admires everything about Alice’s life and work. But it soon becomes clear that this is exactly what Sophie wants – and the creeping question of who’s playing who makes Losing Alice a compelling watch.
Viewers should be warned that the series starts with a shocking outburst of violence, setting the tone for a darkly complex mystery. As Sophie increasingly inserts herself into Alice’s world, the lines begin to blur between fact and fiction. That’s partly because writer-director Sigal Avin is having fun with the audience, blending what’s actually happening with scenes from the film Sophie has written to create a dreamlike sense of disorientation. But it’s also because Avin is rooting every twisting moment of uncertainty in Alice’s own perception of events – and the show’s ability to pull off that deliberate dizzying effect is its biggest strength and weakness.
Avin steeps the whole thing in a steamily evocative atmosphere, leaning into the saucy storyline of Sophie’s tale-within-a-tale while also involving Alice’s husband, David (Gal Toren), an actor trying to reinvigorate his career by starring in the movie. The result is primarily a three-hander that revolves around their varying levels of fascination and obsession.
Sophie has an obsession with Alice that veers from idolising fangirl to calculated destroyer, and Lihi Kornowski convincingly occupies both possible personalities with a verve and energy that believably enchants everyone she meets. Among those enchanted, Ayelet Zurer delivers a fantastically complex performance as Alice, who is caught up in Sophie’s charms, ideas and passion but also in her own envy. She gradually becomes obsessed with what she doesn’t know about this ingenue, as well as what she doesn’t know about her own partner’s desires.
The result plays out like a combination of François Ozon’s In the House and David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive, a swirling enigma of envy, art, fantasy and intoxication. Sometimes, that intoxication draws us in. Sometimes, it doesn’t. But arriving hot on the heels of the thrilling Tehran, Apple TV+’s latest Israeli import has the potential to be another box set you can’t help but binge.
Losing Alice is available on Apple TV+, as part of a £4.99 monthly subscription, with a seven-day free trial. For more information on Apple TV+ and how to get it, click here.