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  • Writer's pictureMax Markowitz

Where is Kyra?

A Memorial Service of a Film

Where Is Kyra? Is a memorial service of a film. There's no possible light at the end of the tunnel but you watch it out of respect. In Brooklyn, Kyra Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer) is recently divorced, unemployed, and living with her terminally ill mother (Suzanne Shepard). She spends her days taking her mother to appointments and unsuccessfully looking for work. Her mother soon passes away leaving Kyra completely alone with no financial income.

She strikes up a companionship with Doug, (Kiefer Sutherland) a kind nurse’s aide who becomes the one person she can vent to as things continue to spiral downhill. Pfeiffer delivers the performance of a lifetime. She approaches Kyra like a yoga instructor. She’ll slowly bend in all positions as she figures out who this woman is. Kyra sees herself as someone who is continuously descending into poverty but the reality is she's already there. The shelter she has isn't really her’s anymore and it won't take long before it's completely taken from her. Even when she gets to a point where she should stop looking for work (Because it becomes embarrassing and useless) she still continues to simply because she can't do anything else. Struggling becomes an unbalanced way of functioning. Struggling is better than defeat and Kyra can't let herself get to that place.

Kiefer Sutherland is the film's brief hope for salvation. Financially, he's not doing that great either but if anyone is going to save Kyra, it's him. Kyra starts disguising herself as her mother in the hopes that financial benefits will resurface and Doug can't stop Kyra from the deception that could land her behind bars if found out. Kyra insists she needs the money but its clear grief is another factor here. Impersonating her mother to feel close to her makes no sense but nothing in Kyra’s world makes sense at this point. The insensitivity (aside from Doug who sticks by as Kyra continues to destroy herself) that surrounds her is ridiculous and as her audience, I found myself fed up with it.

Where Is Kyra? It isn’t just dark in terms of its subject matter. Bradford Young (The brilliant cinematographer who shot Arrival) darkens the lighting for most of the film. How Kyra feels is how you'll feel too and the visual atmosphere of the film reflects that sense of hopelessness. Where Is Kyra? It is a film that lays bare the architecture of modern hopelessness. It's inspiring to tell yourself that if you try hard enough, you can do anything and overcome all obstacles but that is not the reality for many in our society.

Where Is Kyra? It is a very important film about silently fighting for survival, something that takes a massive toll on one’s sanity. Where Is Kyra? begins with her in a mindset where she's pretty much done with everything. What her mother's death means for her gives her a reason for one final fight but inside, she knows she'll never win it. Too many people today want everything and can't imagine being like her, only wanting the bare minimum. As someone with so much to be grateful for, I must say the bare minimum is pretty great in comparison to Kyra’s life. It keeps people like her high up and provides what they see as one hell of a view.

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