I’m on a Zoom call with Julianne Nicholson, discussing her latest film “Janet Planet,” when I reference a moment that made the audience at my screening collectively gush with joy and nostalgia. The central figure of playwright-turned-filmmaker Annie Baker’s directorial debut is an isolated pre-teen named Lacy. She comes of age during the early 1990s in a lush, wooded, mountainous region of Massachusetts — a time and place where long bouts of silence and observation were how you came to understand the world around you — and orbits the life of her mother, the eponymous Janet, played by Nicholson, with equal fascination and disdain.

The scene I mention to Nicholson takes place a little later in the film and sees Lacy playing by herself, with a Little Red Riding Hood doll that, when turned inside out, becomes Little Red’s Grandma, then turned again, becomes The Wolf who eats them both.

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