Noah Hawley, he of Fargo and Legion fame, devotes a series of notes to the name “Claire” in his fatalistically-entertaining book Anthem. The name “Claire,” the absent narrator commences, is assigned to the boring, forgetful, unpassionate, annoying girl in study hall. She has bangs and plays field hockey.
Obviously, Hawley has yet to watch Clairevoyant as this Claire… she ain’t any of that.
Title: Clairevoyant (2021) Director: Arthur De Larroche // Micaela Wittman Writer: Arthur De Larroche // Micaela Wittman Studio: Gravitas Ventures IMDb Plot: A Los Angeles socialite and so-called wellness practitioner seeks to overcome her life of luxury and achieve nirvana after hiring a film crew to document a more authentic journey along the path of enlightenment. Joe Says: Wittman is good at slicing in a sense of innocence to her absurdism but Clairevoyant has too many pauses and not enough craziness.
Clairevoyant is a one-woman show that does its best to follow in the grand footsteps of Christopher Guest’s mockumentary style. And furthering that style, Micaela Wittman (Claire) perfectly channels a young Parker Posey with her performance; nervous smiles, wonderment in her eyes.
Written, directed, and produced by Wittman with Arthur De Larroche, Claire is a so-called wellness practitioner who seeks to overcome her life of luxury and achieve nirvana. What better way to achieve enlightenment… then to bring along a film crew to document her journey.
Craziness follows. But, alas, not enough.
Ranking highlights include the yoga instructor who is far more concerned with Claire paying her monthly dues than imparting any enlightened wisdom, coupled with a visit to an American Indian cultural center seeking Buddhist insight. An attempt to reconnect with the dead – and the dead, you know, generally, not a specific spirit – has its own subtle humor. When Claire is conned into attending a hidden retreat, however, the ploy is all build up with only minor comedic relief. Clairevoyant follows similarly with an unusual pace that never, to paraphrase the ultimate mockumentary, goes to eleven.
Wittman is good at slicing in a sense of innocence to her absurdism
Wittman is good at slicing in a sense of innocence to her absurdism making her routine an easier swallow, at times, than some of Sacha Baron Cohen or Ricky Gervais’ stronger bites.
Wittman needs to capitalize on those humorous pauses. Those moments when the viewer is waiting for the comedic trap to sprung on those unexpected witnesses. Some of the influencers and teachers that Claire interviews are acting so incredibly normal (or, in many instances, trying to) that Wittman has to stretch to get the laugh. The pauses here become too silent at times. Silence, in times like these, is not golden.
Clairevoyant wonderfully plays on Claire’s naivete and Wittman builds her up into a memorable, enjoyable character that totally goes against Hawley’s notes. Wittman now deserves a stronger, memorable movie.