Anna Kendrick makes her directorial debut at TIFF 2023 with the World Premiere of her disturbing film, Woman of the Hour. Based on the true crime story about serial killer Rodney Alcala’s murdering spree in the 1970s.

Posing as an aspiring photographer, Alcala’s (played by Daniel Zovatto) preyed on women convincing them they would be the perfect subject for his work. He made women feel comfortable enough to lure many of them to remote places despite his creepy vibe.

Alcala lands as a contestant on the popular television show “The Dating Game”. He is one of three bachelors on a panel vying to win “the girl” and an all-expenses paid trip dream date.

The trophy this time is Cheryl (Anna Kendrick), an aspiring actress trying to get a break in Hollywood. Her agent sends her to play the role of eligible bachelorette on the game show with no audition needed. By taking on this role, her agent said it would help boost her visibility.  In hopes to open more doors, Cheryl reluctantly agrees only to discover that the expectations didn’t quite line up but it’s a job. Her sweet and naive character was instructed to “giggle lots” and “keep things light” — this is what helps boost ratings.

The game show has a specific formula. A pretty young woman who acts naive. Jock-type men all fluffed to entertain. When the crew of the show told Cheryl to just have fun and be herself, she did just that. In a lightening round questions, she turns the table on the guys offering the audience of the film a bit of humour in an otherwise chilling script.

Cheryl is one of many women Alcala had an encounter with. Kendrick cleverly puts the lens on how women are dismissed. How we second-guess ourselves and how we are not taken seriously is all too familiar and even triggering. She reiterates how uncomfortable and frustrating the ongoing issues are for women and it’s not just in Hollywood. Women are forced to play along in order to survive everywhere.

Woman of the Hour (US/Canada) World Premiere at TIFF 2023.  I’m pretty certain this one will be picked up either in theatre on one of the streaming services. Keep an eye out for it!