Is my problem with Yelling to the Sky that it doesn’t have a story, but is merely a formless movie that follows around a character in her emotional development. My problem with it is that there’s nothing to gleam from it. It feels like the result of filming a group of actors going through exercises and scene ideas without any framework to help guide them. There’s plenty of texture but nothing to tether it.
None of this is the fault of Zoë Kravitz, who captures your attention throughout with as much as an impassive glance. Her transition from victim to victimizer could have been a stronger narrative focus, and Kravitz does well in demonstrating what she’s been asked to play. The problem is that writer/director Victoria Mahoney doesn’t let any of this material register as more or less important as any of the other incidents and developments. Emotional resonance is imperative in a successful drama, and Yelling to the Sky’s rage, anger, and emotional heft is all located in the title and refuses to trickle out into any other places.
Mahoney’s few instances of stylisitic excursions provide the only moments of attention grabbing movie-making throughout the duration. When she shakes off the vérité style and adds some flare, not only do we suddenly care about everything going with these characters, but we’re actually absorbed into their interior lives. Yelling to the Sky is more of a disappointment for having a lot of good material to work with on paper, but the lack of energy or emotional feeling leaves it more mutely staring at the sky.