On the way there, however, is an extraordinary dialogue scene with one of the most trenchant and honest articulations of male privilege I’ve ever seen in a film. Amy shows Kenny her artwork, which, as he notes, is awfully penis-centric — including a voodoo dick doll, which he looks away from nervously. They talk about her work, and her life (pretty much one and the same), and she explains, “Just the struggle of being female is that you’re constantly objectified and discredited for anything you do because you’re a female. Everything is qualified by the fact that you don’t have a dick… A lot of guys don’t understand that just because you don’t have a gun pointed at your head, that there are other forms of violence.”
It sounds like a Big Speech, and it could’ve been written or played like one, but it’s not — Everson just does the scene rather than “acting” it, and it may well not’ve been written at all, as there’s no screenplay credit, but merely a “Story by” for Everson and director/cinematographer Banker. And the dialogue feels improvised, in the best way, with the overlapping, offhand quality of overheard conversation, well matched to the picture’s intimate style and general lack of showiness.
But if Felt is a “small” movie, in terms of budget and scope (and, it seems, release), it’s a David-and-Goliath situation, playing like a response to the phenomenon of the superhero movie — testosterone driven, frequently exclusionary, and increasingly focused on inconsequential or otherworldly evil. Amy, on the other hand, dons her costume to take on an evil that is frighteningly familiar, and at the conclusion of the picture’s very disturbing climax, the images of her donning that mask and taking a mock-heroic pose aren’t easily shaken.