Kyle Bailey’s review published on Letterboxd:
Caution: make sure you set up an appointment with your hair dresser afterwords because your wig is going to be snatched right the fuck off multiple times from this god damn deliciously wicked, twisted thrill ride of a movie!
I went into this movie not really knowing what I was in for. It felt naturally based on the trailer that is would be a great addition to a summer trilogy of period piece #NastyWomen on a vengeful quest to ruin men's lives with My Cousin Rachel, The Beguiled, and now this. Well golly does this one go to the full extreme that the others put a toe in the water compared to this movie. I love this movie but when a guest is going to ask for a recommendation for what's playing at the theater I work at, I'm going to have to ask them a few things. 1. Can you handle brutal violence against animals (one woman walked out on that) 2. Can you handle graphic brutal violence against people (someone left over that too). 3. How twisted can your enjoyment of dark material get. I could handle all of those (I did close my eyes at the animal part though) and overall really loved the twisted nature of this movie where I found myself laughing at stuff that no one else was. It helps that it's guided by a phenomenal breakout performance. Learn Florence Pugh's name. She is a star! She commands every frame and really nails some hysterically dark humorous moments from facial expressions and mannerisms. The fact that she is 20 and can own a movie of this nature foresees a very excellent future for her. Cosmos Jarvis is really great as the man Pugh has an affair with. The whole ensemble is terrific but the stand out was Naomi Ackie. Her performance reminded me a lot of Jessica Lange's in 2014's In Secret that was a movie I was very split on because of its incredible final half after a meh first half. It kind of deals with the same plot of a woman having an affair in olden times with a mother that is very overbearing on being faithful with the man that was arranged to marry them that leads into a bloody twist that stuns her to silence. That happens to Ackie who is excellent in the speaking parts but really shines in those moments of muteness. The husband, the father, the boy, and his overseer are all terrific as well. The costumes and production design are impeccable, the writing is fantastic, the direction is superb. The only hesitation I had with this movie was the rapey way this affair starts out but I don't think it was totally rapey because she was kind of giving him the signal earlier on that she was interested and then REALLY showing she was interested with many sex scenes but I might be reading that whole thing completely wrong and showing my ignorance but that was the only little bump. Overall this is a twisted, sexy, delicious thrill ride that won't be everyone's cup of tea but if it is, you'll need to chug a pitcher of tea because it's truly one of the most exciting movies of the year. I was truly shaking still while I was in my next movie over how amazing this movie was for me.