Tierney Gearon: The Mother Project is such a beautiful, emotionally complex, and intellectually layered film, it's a shame its makers sought fit to stick it with such a literal, potentially crippling title. It begins with shades of Tarnation, as the titular, internationally renowned model-turned-photographer Gearon drives through blinding snow to the rangy, ramshackle upstate NY home of her schizophrenic mother, who she'll proceed to photographically document, off-and-on, for the next three years. As a story of art under the influence of familial tension and mental illness, comparisons to Jonathan Caouette's me-me-me-a-thon are seemingly inevitable. But filmmakers Jack Youngelson and Peter Sutherland provide a welcome layer of distance; their film is undeniably as interested as Caouette's in the role that personal mythology plays on art, but they wisely stick to documenting that relationship, without weaving it into an artificial mysticism.