“Mad Women” is a dark satire about Harper Smith, a middle-aged mom who, following a one-year prison sentence for having committed an act of conscience, becomes a local hero and folk legend in her small community of Iris Glen, NY. She runs for local office but has much grander aspirations up her sleeve. She is a woman accustomed to personal challenges: She lost her third child at the age of three to cancer, her first-born daughter, a pediatrician, is in Ukraine having joined Doctors Without Borders, her own mother lost an eye in her youth in an archery mishap, and her husband, a successful and beloved dentist, commits statutory rape under the influence of LSD at a rock concert. It’s up to Harper and her middle daughter, Nevada, to persevere, and they do, as a most unlikely mother/daughter bond emerges.
About the genesis of “Mad Women” Lipsky explains: “I began writing MAD WOMEN in early 2013, just after President Obama’s second inaugural, moments after a season of political drivel came to an end, and seemingly seconds before cable outlets began their non-stop palaver about the 2016 election. So I set out to conjure up my personal candidate, one whose idealism can’t be blunted, even as the world would be playing whack-a-mole with her. When I finished the script I knew there could never be a ‘Harper Smith.’ But now that Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are front-runners, well, now I’m not so sure anymore!”
“Mad Women” marks the third consecutive collaboration between Lipsky and co-star Reed Birney (“House of Cards,” 2014 Tony Award nominee “Casa Valentina”). It also spotlights three extraordinary actresses – Kelsey Lynn Stokes, Christina Starbuck, and Sharon Van Ivan (John Cassavetes’ “Opening Night”) and marks a reunion for Lipsky with Jamie Harrold who co-starred in “Flannel Pajamas.” Lipsky’s previous films include “Twelve Thirty,” “Molly’s Theory of Relativity,” and “Once More With Feeling,” which along with “Flannel Pajamas,” have starred Justin Kirk, Julianne Nicholson, Jonathan Groff, Mamie Gummer, Chazz Palminteri, Drea deMatteo, Linda Fiorentino, Cady Huffman, Rebecca Schull, Halley Feiffer and Barbara Barrie.
“MAD WOMEN” Review Excerpts…
"Jeff Lipsky’s live-action film 'Mad Women' is also a campaign cartoon. Lipsky confronts the political and sexual kinkiness of public figures like Hillary Clinton and those who might vote for her. His protagonist, Harper Smith (Christina Starbuck), runs for mayor of a fictitious New York town and makes wild promises “to secede from the United States of America . . . These are human ideals and I will not turn my back on them!” Harper’s wacky platform hides the extremism of her personal life (a criminal history, a jailbird husband, a wayward daughter, and some private horrors and transgressions). Mad Women runs may be the year’s oddest indie film for its uncanny view of some subcultural unease (or disease). “All paradigms begin with crackpots,” Lipsky’s heroine harps. “Revolution isn’t easy.” Lipsky goes for straight-faced satire like Harold Pinter’s and against the dishonest nostalgia of TV’s Mad Men, as well as the “feminist” hypocrisy recognizable in Hillary zealots. After surveying so many indie-film social pretenses in his earlier career as a producer-distributor, Lipsky knows the language — and madness — of bourgeois solipsism, and that, as with the caricatures of Minions, is Mad Women’s lingua franca. “
-Armond White, National Review
“ ‘Mad Women’ pushes the boundaries of morality. Mr. Lipsky is skilled at creating taboo-busting characters and letting them reveal themselves in the kinds of long, detailed scenes actors love. Reed Birney and Christina Starbuck are exceptionally good. Its eclectic characters certainly linger.”
-Neil Genzlinger, The New York Times
“With Mad Women, Jeff Lipsky dares us to rethink desire. In this universe, every relationship—especially between family members—has a sexual component and every core memory (to borrow—blasphemously—from Pixar’s Inside Out) represents a stage in the acquisition of a sexual identity. Most if not all of those stages are like traumas frozen in time. It forced me to rethink the way sexual desire saturates everything, along with extreme vulnerability of children. I don’t like backing down from a movie that challenges me.”
-David Edelstein, New York Magazine
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