Awkward, puppet-loving Claire takes a leap of faith and moves to Paris to pursue her dreams and change the life of a French figure skater. Yup. You read that correctly. GOODBYE, PETRUSHKA exemplifies indie filmmaking with its uniqueness while simultaneously grounding itself in solid fairytale elements. Fall in love with Claire and her authentic and innocent outlook on life.
Joëlle Haddad-Champeyroux plays innumerable ancillary characters. It is a fantastic running joke. Thomas Vieljeux gives Thibaut a melancholy and wounded self-esteem that suits the narrative. It also places Claire in an unexpected hero role.
Casey Landman is Gen Z perfection as Claire’s best friend, Julia. She settles into her privilege and fashionista vibe like a pro. Landman is a spectacular foil for Claire. She is the delightful and necessary comic relief that counters the overall arc.
Lizzie Kehoe is hilarious as Claire. She’s the quirky yet emotionally stunted girl who is genuinely charming. Her giddy exuberance is infectious. Kehoe gives it her all as we wade through an increasingly complex coming-of-age story.
The script never takes itself too seriously and lives in its unapologetic campiness. The dialogue is quippy and laugh-out-loud funny. Each character is memorable. The animated sequences are adorable. I would have loved to see it integrated from the beginning. They enhance the genuine sweetness in the story.
The film’s only fault is perhaps its length. It could use a trim on some of the lingering shots. On the other hand, the story would benefit from being fleshed out and turned into a miniseries. I think the characters earn backstories and an even deeper emotional investment. GOODBYE, PETRUSHKA would make an accessible YA series. Writer-director Nicola Rose covers a lot of ground in an hour and forty minutes. Hidden beneath a classic meets modern fairytale structure lies political commentary, gender dynamics, emotional manipulation, and celebrated individuality. GOODBYE, PETRUSHKA has solid development potential. Rose has a voice, and there is an undoubtedly hungry audience for what she’s serving.
Indie feature GOODBYE, PETRUSHKA, world-premiered at Dances with Films in LA and is now streaming on Amazon, Tubi, and other platforms