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‘The Body Remembers’ Review: One Prospers, the Other Doesn’t

November 28, 2019

There’s a crucial scene near the midpoint of the Canadian drama “The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open,” and it brilliantly illuminates the experiential chasm between its two leads. It takes place in a taxicab where Aila (Elle-Maija Tailfeathers, who also wrote and directed the film with Kathleen Hepburn) is accompanying Rosie (Violet Nelson), a woman she has only recently met, to a safe house. Both women are indigenous; but where Aila is willowy and elegantly dressed, Rosie is stocky and awkward, her pregnant body wrapped in mismatched clothing and her hair clotted over the bruises left by her boyfriend’s knuckles.

Out of nowhere, Rosie spins an elaborate fantasy for their driver, telling him that Aila is her sister and they are taking her to rehab. What she’s doing is flipping the script, the one playing in the driver’s head about which of his passengers is likely to be in need of help. It tells us that Rosie is painfully aware of how she looks and what people are thinking about her. And how much it hurts.

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