The film speaks to our obsession with fitting everything in our lives into narrative form. As we play out events from our own past, we try finding their cinematic value and structure. We might want to rearrange certain people to fit into different outcomes, even switch roles with someone else in that same story. This can be either conscious or subconscious, and sometimes both, especially when mining for creativity for the ultimate sake of creating.
Plaza tackles all three of her roles with three separate approaches. She plays each character in a way that’s so unique and specific to her own personality that we’re actually watching her corner the market on her idiosyncratic style, proving how valuable she is with the right material. And in a film whose nature finds it difficult for us to attach ourselves to the characters, Plaza is still able to connect with the audience despite all of this.
Black Bear subverts what we hold true about character consistency. The only actual character here is the writer, or at least we can assume as much. Furthermore, the procedural nature of the writing and creative process justifies the lack of an established tone within the movie. When you brainstorm, or even when you’re writing the first few drafts of a story, you have yet to lock down things such as tone or themes, and that’s reflected here.