Heidi Miami Marshall’s Muscle explores the ambivalence of a wife who is tasked with taking care of her dying husband, as she struggles with the relationship itself, which started falling apart before the sickness hit. It is a slow-paced, thoughtful film that is light on dialogue, but heavy on impact. According to director Heidi Marshall, the team spent a year developing the script, and Muscle’s final form speaks volumes about the main character’s situation without using much speech at all. It’s soaked in the kind of subtext that exists in great films, where everything you need to know is hinted at but never overtly explained.Though the dying husband is certainly present in the film, the only characters that truly matter are female. The lead actress (Fiona Graham) brings a strong, independent character to life, and her experience is vivid and relatable. Though she doesn’t talk much, it doesn’t really matter; the story is mostly told through her actions and body language, and the performance she gives is riveting, as is the one from actress Reiko Aylesworth, who plays a bartender Fiona’s character meets in upstate New York.

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