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Arts and Entertainment

Zoe Kazan (Granddaughter of Elia) Shines In A Tale Of Stolen Identity 'The Pretty One'

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Zoe Kazan, granddaughter of the late Elia Kazan, continues a long tradition of actors portraying twins in The Pretty One. Joining the likes of Bette Davis, Lindsay Lohan and Nicolas Cage, Kazan has the task of (very briefly) acting opposite of herself as Audrey, the titular twin. Audrey is dispatched from the film quite early in a car crash. Laurel, the country bumpkin to Audrey's big city careerist, survives but because of a new haircut is mistaken for her sister in the aftermath.

Instead of directly dealing with the grief of losing her twin and the absurdity of her mistaken identity, Laurel takes the opportunity to start anew by essentially stealing her sister's life in the city (an unidentified Los Angeles, probably The Valley). She moves out of her widowed father's (the always great character actor John Carroll Lynch) country homestead and takes Audrey's career and apartment. She then initiates a romance with the Manic Pixie Dream Boy neighbor her sister always loathed (New Girl's Jake Johnson), while dealing with the pratfalls of learning a job on the fly and holding off the advances of a married man (Ron Livingston) her sister was having an affair with.

The Pretty One ping-pongs so much between somber meditations on loss and absence (visually accented whenever Laurel is framed asymmetrically by the camera) and quirky indie romcom territory that it never settles and finds much depth. Kazan, though, is terrific as both twins and in a film where the events and outcomes are as predictable as you'd expect, she pulls off a performance that bubbles with charm and spontaneity.

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The Pretty One opens today at the Sundance Sunset Cinemas (West Hollywood).