Much like another recent review character drama, The Measure Of A Man, Krisha is a great minimalistic approach to exploring the issues of realistic microcosm ethos.
Following the life an exiled family member, Krisha returns to visit her loved ones for Thanksgiving. However, it’s clear that her presence is an awkward shock to some and a completely unwelcome return to others. And this is where the drama quickly picks up.
Given a large family to correspond with, we slowly watch Krisha’s interactions with each member. This is the first great aspect of this film. Although it is set only within the confines of a house, each interaction grows the world of Krisha. By setting up the reflections of who she is, through the attitudes expressed by those around her, we can get a clear picture of the troubles and issues she harbors inside. Not to mention, this allows the tension to quietly build upon itself and expands as time goes on.
This growing tension is also accomplished on a presentation level, in particular with the use of sound. There is the fantastic employment of an audio track that is layered with a vast number of noises, which cumulatively presents such a weird and disturbing aural presence. While initially, this is completely off putting, this is intended for its presence. Much like the uncomfortable audio heard, the director Trey Edward Shults wants you to also feel the uncomfortable nature that Krisha’s sudden presence provides.
After building this tension to a resounding climax, all hell lets loose. And boy, it’s even more uncomfortable but ultimately fascinating to watch. This is thanks to not only the realistic writing by the same person directing; but also, the performances of its lead and supporting cast. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that most of the characters are part of the director’s immediate family. He himself also plays a role in the film as Krisha’s son and the part of Krisha herself is played by his aunty Krisha Fairchild.
I have no doubt, that this culmination of factors played a huge part in the believability of the film. It’s also reflected in the nature that the family gathers quite realistically. So, whilst the escalations in family drama that the film presents might not be directly translatable to your experiences, you can wholeheartedly still feel attached in some way to the notions being presented. Especially towards ideas you might hold already about certain other extended family members, and the awkwardness you know will inevitably ensue at the next large gathering.
Krisha aims to shine a spotlight on these types of situations and to highlight the complex human reactions we can possess behind them. This makes perfect sense since most extended families will have many people, that come from all various backgrounds, and often these same people can bring with them any number of different personal or external issues that will come face to face with others. It’s part of what makes us human; we’re not perfect, we make mistakes. This is what can make being part of a family, a rollercoaster of dynamic relationships with good and bad consequences. Krisha simply chooses to examine the latter but only does so to emphasize how families aren’t necessarily all sunshine and rainbows, that sometimes they can be fucked up in ways you couldn’t imagine for your current relationships with your extended family.
But the important part is to know that without the bad, the good ceases to exist. To not only make you feel grateful for the joy you do feel to the rest of your family. But to also know how to love them in moments when they seemingly appear to not show any love for you. This is what can make Krisha often the uncomfortable watch, but it does so in a way to try to perpetuate these important themes to the audience. And ultimately, it makes it a thoroughly interesting experience to see and a definite must watch film.