This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Aidan Bay’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
Okay look I get it. If I saw it in a more cynical mood or not in theaters I’m sure I wouldn’t be as crazy about it. I don’t completely buy the transformation to her being stoked to join a new family at the end either. Haven’t seen Wicker Man but I’m sure there’s lots of homage. Maybe some of the acting pales in comparison to Florence Pugh (who kills it). Maybe it’s a little overlong? Is the competing theses storyline necessary? Probably not. The way Aster uses tragedy right off the bat in both his features is extremely exploitative, which is maybe annoying but also damn effective—this doesn’t deal with grief as potently or realistically as, say, Manchester By the Sea, but the early scenes of Dani’s response to the news are heartrendingly uncomfortable and involved me immediately.
Sometimes a movie just hits, you know? Maybe it’s because I had to pee so bad but I was filled with so much dread the whole time. At the end of the day its effectiveness just came down to its emotional resonance to me. Breakups are melodramatic, and the last twenty minutes or so are so surreal and cathartic and touching—especially the scene where Dani finally completely breaks down and is joined by the women of the commune.
Random thoughts: Fun to watch right after Hereditary and I know this is maybe unpopular but it feels like a step up in a few ways, mainly in scale and inventiveness but also in lighting and even music (Stetson did a great job on the former but I love what Haxan Cloak did—the last cue was especially fantastic). I love the ambition. There’s lots of shock/gore (which I’m sure you can argue is cheap but it was effective for me) but I can’t recall a single jump scare, which is great. The psychedelic CG effects were so cool and not corny or over-the-top. Some great production design and costuming (that flower dress at the end was incredible). Really great editing and effective use of crossfading which was fun. Lastly, quick shoutout to Reynor for being down for the nude scene and to Aster for including male frontal—the male-to-female ratio for full frontal in cinema by and large is wayyy out of wack.