Paint It Black (2016 film)

Paint It Black is a 2016 American film directed by Amber Tamblyn and co-written with Ed Dougherty based on Janet Fitch's 2006 novel of the same name. The film premiered at the 2016 LA Film Festival.[1] A young artist commits suicide and the mother blames his girlfriend.

Paint It Black
Directed byAmber Tamblyn
Produced by
  • Wren Arthur
  • Amy Hobby
  • Anne Hubbell
  • Amber Tamblyn
Written by
  • Amber Tamblyn
  • Ed Dougherty
CinematographyBrian Rigney Hubbard
Edited byPaul Frank
  • Olive Productions
  • Tangerine Entertainment
Distributed byImagination Worldwide
Release date
  • June 3, 2016 (2016-06-03) (LAFF)
  • May 19, 2017 (2017-05-19) (United States)
Running time
97 minutes
CountryUnited States


After her boyfriend, Michael, ignores her for days, Josie (Alia Shawkat), receives a phone call from the police informing her that he committed suicide at a motel. At the funeral she is attacked by Michael's mother, Meredith (Janet McTeer), who blames Josie for his death. Michael's father, Cal, takes her out for drinks after the funeral to explain that Michael was heavily depressed and that he and Meredith had an unusually close relationship with Cal being regarded as the interloper.

Josie copes with Michael's death by going out and getting drunk every night. When that no longer works she visits Meredith's home and the two get drunk together. The following morning Meredith tracks Josie down and asks Josie to show her the place she lived with Michael. Josie reluctantly consents but refuses to let Meredith take any of Michael's possessions. The following night, returning home, she finds that Meredith has stolen nearly everything in the apartment. In retaliation Josie breaks into Meredith's home and steals back some of Michael's things.

Later she calls Meredith from a phone booth and accuses her of trying to kill her. She makes Meredith promise to return Michael's sketchbooks to her. Meredith goes to meet her with only a few of the notebooks and then asks her to move in with her temporarily, promising to give her the rest of Michael's things.

Josie agrees and goes to live with Meredith. She gets sick and Meredith nurses her back to health and dresses her in beautiful clothing and has her attend lavish dinner parties. Eventually Josie tires of this lifestyle and leaves, going to the motel where Michael committed suicide. While at the motel Josie tries to get the receptionist to talk to her about Michael, but she avoids the subject. Instead an employee secretly talks to Josie and admits she is the one who found Michael and slips Josie the key to his room.

The following morning Josie walks into the desert and rips up Michael's drawings and abandons them there. Returning to the motel she offers the sympathetic employee a ride away from the motel as the circumstances of her employment seem strange and confining. The employee declines and Josie leaves the motel, but as she is leaving she sees the employee running towards her in her rear view mirror and stops the car so she can get in.



Tamblyn optioned the rights to the book in 2012 with the idea of producing the movie and starring as the lead character with Courtney Hunt directing.[2] By 2014 Tamblyn had taken on writing and directing duties herself and had cast Alia Shawkat in the lead role. Filming was completed in December 2014.[3]


  1. ^ McNary, Dave. "LA Film Festival Unveils 42 World Premieres". Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  2. ^ Fitch, Janet. "Paint It Black– THE MOVIE PREMIERE". Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  3. ^ Saperstein, Pat. "Amber Tamblyn Wraps Directing Debut With Punk Rock Tale 'Paint It Black'". Retrieved 28 April 2016.

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