This loose adaptation of Norah Sadava and Amy Nostbakken’s play of the same name is brought to the silver screen by Mansfield Park director Patricia Rozema. The Emmy-winning writer, producer, and director attempts to channel this ‘two as one’ semi-musical act into a filmic narrative. 

Cassandra wakes up to a series of missed calls and a voicemail, telling her that her mother has suddenly and unexpectedly passed away in the night. The events that follow centre around family politics as they prepare for the funeral. Tall Cassandra (Amy Nostbakken) and Short Cassandra (Norah Sadava) posture themselves as the responsible family member to deliver the eulogy.

The primary element of Mouthpiece is the synchronised movements, mannerisms, and verbalising between Nostbakken and Sadava – a visually captivating balancing act that rarely feels gimmicky. Both contort towards and away from the other when presented with the painful, the happy, the logical, and the illogical, creating a sense of nuanced emotional juxtaposition. This refreshing approach to an idea of a self residual image and expression of an active inner-monologue is delivered through a palpable connection the two leads share, let down only by occasionally faltering dialogue.

As the funeral fast approaches, Cassandra battles calls from a divorced father, a sensitive brother, and a concerned aunt to reconsider her insistence on delivering the eulogy. This sets up an inner conflict that resembles a violent dance between the left and right sides of the brain, with resolution both internal and external. 

Though sadly there is a sense that something appears missing in the translation from stage to screen, the duality of the lead roles as one character split into two is acted out brilliantly. Mouthpiece feels unique in its lead performances and how the story is ultimately told, making it a worthwhile though slightly flawed exercise in adaptation.



CAST: Norah Sadava, Amy Nostbakken, Maev Beaty, Taylor Belle Puterman, Paula Boudreau, Jake Epstein, Ari Cohen

DIRECTOR: Patricia Rozema

WRITERS: Norah Sadava, Amy Nostbakken

SYNOPSIS: Cassandra, portrayed by two, wants to give the eulogy at her late mother’s funeral, debating her inner monologue she decides what she should say and organise the funeral.