The Ninth Cloud, directed by Jane Spencer, is beautifully strange. Well, that was my first most coherent thought that I could pull from the dreamy dregs of what I had just watched.

A truly existential drama, this is as much a moving account of a young dreamer contending with her own delusions and personal reality as it is a philosophical exploration of the meaning of life – from social classes to the struggle between carnal desire and true human connection. The Ninth Cloud will certainly have you scratching your head and maybe even moping about in a Morrissey-like state for days after having an existential crisis, thanks to the head-in-the-clouds protagonist, Zena played by Megan Maczko.

It’s fair to say that The Ninth Cloud sets out to tackle a fair bit then, and in many respects it succeeds, however, it does ask a hell of a lot from the audience too. That said, Maczko does a sublime job drawing the audience in with her aloof character and visceral sensitivity amidst the chaotic plot. Cross Audrey Tautou in Amelie and Zooey Deschanel in 500 day of summer and throw in a huge dollop of philosophy and you have Zena.

Opposite Maczko is Michael Madsen as a bohemian artist who shuns ‘the man’ and makes a little cash washing dishes in a small restaurant. Madsen as bohemian Bob works really well and the two lead protagonists are arguably the strongest facet of this film.

The film, upon first watch, appears to need more focus. The protagonists are dreamy and pondering in nature and it seems that the plot is too – often losing focus by ambling through tons of characters attempting to look at their life choices but lacking depth in order to make some pivotal epiphany. Instead, some of the characters are so waifish and wishy-washy they end up rather stereotypical and two dimensional. Although, after wading my way through my first watch of The Ninth Cloud I decided this may be intentional – and in fact, necessary.

Spencer doesn’t want to spell everything out for her audience. She is tackling philosophy, the meaning of life – how could she possibly give us all the answers? Instead, these leaden characters are there to provide a small glimpse into everything and anything in order for the audience to draw their own conclusions about them. It is, I think at least, an attempt to show society, the world, people, in all varying forms – no matter how sparsely or fleeting. Also, it has such a realistic edge to life in London – so busy and bustling, filled with many anonymous people drifting from one place to another – Spencer captures this feeling perfectly with her seemingly half-formed characters. A small glimpse into lots of different lives is the perfect depiction of city life.

The ultimate goal of The Ninth Cloud is a reminder to all that the world can be viewed in all manner of ways, and serves as a stark reminder that we should always keep an open mind. Its darkly funny, artsy and a stunning portrayal of London in all of its weird and wonderful forms.

Rental Review: The Ninth Cloud
A dreamy drama that will leave you thinking
4.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (7 Votes)

About The Author

Emily is from South London and has a degree in English Literature. Emily is a marketing assistant who writes about films and music in her spare time. Horror and grindhouse are her thing - although she will happily watch anything if it means a trip to the cinema.