There’s a lot of myths around twins, from telepathy to some kind of Parent Trap situation. Yet the hardest thing about being a twin must be looking exactly like someone else. So while the publicity for THAT’S NOT ME tells you that director Gregory Erdstein and co-writer/star Alice Foulcher were influenced by Girls and Bridesmaids, this is very much a comedy about finding your own place in the world.
Polly (played by Foulcher) dreams of being a big Hollywood star, but her efforts are partly self-sabotaged by her terminal indecision. It also doesn’t help that her identical twin sister Amy has just landed an HBO series opposite Jared Leto. With waning parental support, coupled with being fired from her job in a cinema, even Polly’s attempt to go to LA backfires. To make matters worse, she keeps losing gigs after getting mistaken for her sister.
On the one level, Foulcher and Erdstein are poking fun at the shallowness of an industry that often misplaces its artificial values. Polly’s twin sister is praised for her “unique look,” while Polly is only offered roles intended for her high-profile sister. An amusing cameo from Isabel Lucas as a fellow actor living in LA shows the lengths struggling actors go to get their foot in the door. The local industry doesn’t escape mocking either: when Polly is told at a party someone was recently in an Australian feature, she replies “I don’t really watch Australian films, but that’s amazing.”
Yet THAT’S NOT ME works best as a character study, and a showcase for Foulcher’s talents. Polly’s favourite film is It’s A Wonderful Life, a corny selection she admits, but her whole character seems to be waiting for a magical resolution to her awkwardly funny life dilemma. While Amy is mostly glimpsed through her on-screen performances, Foulcher gives a terrific turn as twins, showing off subtle differences in portrayals in the rare scenes they “share.”
There’s a very rapid resolution to THAT’S NOT ME that is somewhat at odds with what has come before, signalling a life goal that was never previously telegraphed. On the flip side, it could be seen that Polly has finally made the kind of decision she was incapable of prior to that. Nevertheless, the path she takes to get there is an enjoyable one, and a hopefully the start of a fertile feature career for the cast and crew alike.
THAT’S NOT ME is playing at the Sydney Film Festival 2017. It releases in Australia on 31 August