© Leonine Distribution GmbH

U.S.A. 2024

Opening 14 Mar 2024

Directed by: Jeff Wadlow
Writing credits: Greg Erb, Jason Oremland, Jeff Wadlow
Principal actors: DeWanda Wise, Taegen Burns, Pyper Braun, Betty Buckley, Tom Payne

Jessica (DeWanda Wise) is the new second wife of musician Max (Tom Payne) and the stepmother of his daughters—Taylor (Taegen Burns), age fifteen and Alice (Pyper Braun), age five. All four move into a large house, formerly Jessica’s childhood home. She is an artist, drawing illustrations for books, e.g., a children’s book called Millipede Molly which features a spider named Simon. Her mother died long ago, and her father Ben lies in a hospital bed. Neighbor Gloria shows up and reminds Jessica that she used to babysit her when she lived there as a child. Slowly memories of those days return. Young Alice loves to explore the house, going deep into the cellar to unknown rooms, where she finds Jessica’s old teddy bear Chauncey who becomes her imaginary friend with whom she “converses.” She begins to check off in a scavenger hunt “organized” by Chauncey.  Then she disappears.

DeWanda Wise plays a black woman in a white family. When husband Max goes off for a project, she is alone with the two children, a challenge to being a good mom. Imaginary compares the imaginations of Jessica and Alice, two generations, but similar, living in “never ever.” Alice is diagnosed with paracosm, which Wikipedia calls “a detailed imaginary world thought generally to originate in childhood.” She is treated by Dr. Soto. There are mysterious doors; one is blue and must be painted black. Presented as a “horror movie,” Imaginary features scary background music including three songs. Filmed in New Orleans and around Louisiana, USA, we learn to be careful of our imaginations. (Becky Tan)

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