Jake’s review published on Letterboxd:
“The world of love has no room for monsters,”
Be it something thrust upon us by our parents, trauma or weakness, or be it something born from the darkest corner of ourselves, we live and carry with us an unimaginable toll of burdens. Sometimes too heavy to bear. With many it’s enough to slow us down, but never to bring that which they’ve latched onto to a complete halt. Sometimes that’s the only thing that keeps you going- the knowledge that you’ve lasted this long- and that’s it. We burn out, we burn bright, and inevitably we fizzle out one way or another.
One day I might write more about this movie. That day isn’t today. All I’ll say is that for a second time now, Guadagnino and co.’s craft and vision has left me captivated, invigorated, devastated, and utterly awestruck. Be it the worn rural American landscapes that capture places like where I’ve lived my whole life, the naturalistic performances by our two leads, or the typically godly Reznor & Ross score, aesthetically this was a slam dunk for me in every way imaginable. From a textual standpoint, as best I can figure, this is a Cormac McCarthy-esque tragic fable about people who exist in a total state of liminality. Not bound by morals, places, or anything that anchors your average person. These are just beings suspended in the dark with absolutely no way out, and this is a case study into how that affects them- but not only that, it uses its unbounded nature to explore the darkest inclinations of the human soul, a venture fully and totally taken advantage of here… fucking somehow. It takes that which we know as monstrous, obscene, and taboo, and shows it for all its ugliness- but also transforms every misguided and fraught action, tension, and feeling into an extension of a kind of intimacy that you can’t discern the true nature of. Not because something is muddled or ambiguous, but because it is infinitely complex. There are no absolutes, no forgiveness, no reconciliation, just the ephemera of life at its most desperate. Horror and beauty are often thought as opposites, but I think above anyone else working right now, Guadagnino understands that they aren’t on some opposing polarity. They’re just lenses into the same world. The same people. The same ugliness. The same beauty.
And that… I dunno.
I just… I don’t really know.