Featuring the viewpoint of eight completely different filmmakers to form one cohesive narrative feature, The Seven Faces of Jane is one of the most fascinating movies I have seen in a long time. This technique alone warrants a watch, forming a complete day in the life of Jane (Gillian Jacobs, Netflix’s Love, Fear Street) in a vignette style. In a process known as “exquisite corpse,” each director selected a card containing a chunk of Jane’s timeline, then had complete creative freedom to do whatever they wanted with it. Suffice to say, the girl has one eventful spin around the globe after dropping off her daughter at summer camp.
There is no true structure to the film beyond following Jane on her misadventures, but when they are this much fun who really cares? Each segment has its own unique visual style, bookended by a beginning and ending done by Gillian Jacobs. From seeing a double of herself at a local diner to rekindling old flames, an emotional goodbye for a best friend, aiding a sweet girl through her Quinceañera, picking up a hitchhiker, and everything in between, Jane is one splendidly intriguing woman to follow on her life’s trials and tribulations.
The Seven Faces of Jane is not quite an anthology movie, but it shares many similarities due to the multiple directors throwing their hats into the ring. For me, the standouts are “Guardian” and “The One That Got Away.” The former features a meaningful interpretative dance that doubles as an emotional goodbye, whilst the latter features Joel McHale and a stunning mountaintop hike prickling with forbidden romance. These are simply the ones that spoke directly to me, but any given viewer may be drawn toward a different aspect of the feature.
Also similar to anthologies, not every installment is great. One of the latter ones is too bizarre and surreal for its own good, and the Quinceañera side story does not seem as if it has much to say. However, when The Seven Faces of Jane is good, I genuinely loved what I was watching. I have been a huge fan of Gillian for awhile now, and a fascinating project like this is the perfect outlet for her creative endeavors. Perhaps this type of thing has been done before cinematically, but for me it was a whole new experience. I would highly recommend checking it out due to the signature quirkiness and engaging lead character.
The Seven Faces of Jane screened at 2022’s Bentonville Film Festival.