This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Chris Cabin’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
It cannot be overstated how good Elisabeth Moss is in this movie, nor how this movie would likely fall to pieces without her in the role of Cecilia. Whannell has become a better director but his writing is careless to the point of rendering major turns of this film unconvincing. I can overlook a lot in the name of expressionism and narrative freedom, but Whannell asks me to believe that Cecilia's sister would believe that Cecilia would send an e-mail like that and couldn't have been hacked. Double goes for the whole Sidney getting hit thing. Whannell makes her alienation from those who care for her way too easy and convenient, which is honestly an awful message coming from a movie that is purportedly about overcoming abuse and trauma, at least partially. It's also strange that a movie centered partially on an optics genius/tech billionaire so blatantly suggests that cameras are not everywhere, including in the hallways of a hospital.
That is my major and not insubstantial complaint about a movie that I otherwise really, really enjoyed. Again, most of the credit belongs to Moss, whose face paints a devastating tale of abuse, deep self-doubt, and resilient will that the script barely scratches the surface of by the end. Visually, I thought this was much more handsome than Upgrade and you can feel Whannell, as well as DP Stefan Duscio, stretching their wings a bit more with the bigger budget. Unfortunately, Whannell is ultimately hung-up on his own (admittedly impressive) talent for deploying scares that get worn out about halfway through, and shows no interest in really exploring who Cecilia was before and during her relationship with Adrian, nor really about who she will become after his reign. That makes Whannell a bit more akin to Adrian than Cecilia.