People spend their entire lives looking for purpose, searching for meaning, trying to find some kind of answer. Well, Claire has her own existential question.
Isn’t there an app for that?
The perky twentysomething is the subject of the new mockumentary Clairevoyant, and the comedy comes from her clueless spiritual quest, which she’s trying to turn into a film.
Vaguely interested in Buddhism, she interviews her yoga instructor (who tells her she’s behind in her payments). Curious about India and its culture. she seeks out a Native American – never realizing that’s not what “Indian” means.
Were Claire a real person you’d hope that someone – her worried mother, perhaps – would convince her to shelve this project before anyone saw it. But Claire is the fictional construct of star and co-director Micaela Wittman, and her idiocy is the point.
Wittman is a winning presence, and her fresh-faced foolishness is often amusing. She has real acting chops, too, and layers this silly character with honest emotion. She’s ridiculous, true, but sometimes we get glimpses of loneliness and disappointment.
That’s crucial, because in a less skilled performer’s hands, Claire would be frankly unbearable. The poster-girl for unexamined privilege, she lives off Daddy’s money while doing – what exactly? She’s an influencer without an audience, a “celebrity” who no one knows.
Unfortunately, the film itself is nearly as aimless. Born out of improv, it’s at its best when Wittman actually has someone to play off – the painfully polite Native American who tries to correct her racism, the chipper Christian counsellor pushing Paradise.
But for long stretches it’s just Wittman and her heard-but-not-seen cameraman, voiced by co-director Arthur De Larroche, and when it’s just the two of them – well, it becomes just the two of them, amusing each other but no one else.
One long pointless sequence features Claire wandering around a ditch, looking for a special stream. The film concludes with another extended scene where Claire takes some hallucinogens – and breaks its own rules by dropping the documentary format to include trippy visuals out of some old drug-scare movie. This isn’t self-actualization, it’s self-indulgence.
It’d be nice if Claire did eventually find herself. But Clairevoyant would have been a bit better if its filmmakers had found a script.