Woman, A Part: Elisabeth Subrin’s Feature Directing Debut

A WOMAN, A PART marks the interesting feature debut of filmmaker and artist Elisabeth Subrin (“Shulie,” “The Caretakers”).

Anna Baskin, a fortysomething successful actress on a hit TV show in Los Angeles, has played the same brittle “career woman” part for years.

After a particularly egregious confrontation on set, Anna reveals to her manager Leslie (Khandi Alexander) that she wants to quit acting, even though leaving the show would lead to a lawsuit and could ruin her career.

Attempting to return to the past life she left behind, she goes to NY and reconnect with friends from her ’90s experimental theater troupe: Kate (Cara Seymour), a now-sober, queer ex-actress, and Isaac (John Ortiz), a married, struggling playwright. Isaac welcomes Anna, motivated by hope that her celebrity can help his career, while Kate can’t forgive Anna for abandoning them for Hollywood.

When Anna learns that they’ve used her past life as inspiration for their new play, she experiences a betrayal that leads her back to the security of losing herself in a part.

Anna’s return triggers old and new wounds, and all three are forced to reckon with their pasts and uncertain futures. The film offers an astute critique of how women are portrayed in media, the ways in which personal relationships intertwine with and shape the creative process, and the difficulty of change, all set against a changing New York City.

Siff portrays effectively a complex woman at a crossroads, who presents different versions to different people–and to herself.