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‘Stress Positions’ Review: It’s Giving Pandemonium

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nytimes.com

For “Stress Positions,” the writer-director Theda Hammel shows her hand when a character says, in a world-weary voice-over, that the madness we’re about to witness “happened so long ago.” The movie is set in summer 2020.

Karla (portrayed by Hammel) is a sardonic transgender massage therapist in New York, and the first of the film’s two narrators.

Her opinion of white gay male privilege, especially that of her best friend Terry, who went from intern to husband of his boss, can be stinging. “Stress Positions” finds Terry (John Early) in lockdown in the brownstone of his soon-to-be ex-husband, Leo (John Roberts).

Upstairs, Coco (Rebecca F. Wright), a tenant, puffs cigarettes and vaguely hews to Terry’s Covid safety protocols. Terry’s nephew Bahlul (Qaher Harhash), a Moroccan fashion model, is ensconced at the garden level.

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