Cassie’s review published on Letterboxd:
Man, I just did not connect with this one! I’m not going to lie, one of my main reasons for watching this was Robert Pattinson. He’s a fantastic actor and I really love him and his work. Thankfully, he didn’t disappoint in this movie! He gave a good performance (even if his accent sounded like a southern grandma) and I was intrigued to see what his character was going to do! My disappointment with him was just how underutilized his character was in the grand schemes of the story, and this leads me to my main fault with the movie. So much was being attempted that I felt like nothing amazing was done in the process. There were so many interesting plots that were just buried under one big mess of doom and gloom. While there isn’t a direct fault in “doom and gloom”, it reached a point where the plot was mostly the shock value of sadness. There have been movies before that are sad and have multiple depressing moments, for example The Florida Project comes to mind. Yet TFP works because it also has those moments that remind the viewer why they wanted to watch the movie in the first place. Moments where we can see the characters or relationships shine through. Again, not every movie needs to be happy or even have any happy scenes, but this was a movie where so many depressing things were happening where I almost didn’t feel a connection with the characters because I felt as if something bad was just waiting to happen.
This movie wasn’t my personal taste which very much so affected my feelings towards the movie, but my friend Danielle actually liked the movie and said she’d give it a 3.5. My other friend Alex liked it less than I did and gave it a 2! I will also say that I watched this movie on Netflix Party with Danielle and Alex and I think that both helped and hurt my experience. Helped my experience because I had fun talking with friends and it added a bit of humor, but also hurt my experience because there were scenes where I was very confused! I thought Alvin was the name of one of the main characters for the entire movie.
To begin with what I liked, as I mentioned above, we were able to see a very interesting performance from Robert Pattinson. He was able to capture the charm needed for his role, but also the evil manipulation needed to make the character feel gross. Pattinson has really proven himself to be a strong actor in the past couple years of his work and I will probably say that he is my favorite actor! The other performances in the movie were also compelling, my second favorite probably being from Tom Holland. I thought his accent was much better than Pattinson’s and also it was interesting to see Holland take on that grittier role. The filming was good, the editing was fine, the sound mixing was fine. I liked the production design but I am a sucker for period films in general. It never felt “tacky” or too in your face and it felt alive so I was happy about that. The story was interesting but it felt like a book. I think this is based off of a book but when it ended I just wish I had read the book instead of watching the movie. This was one where I felt that there was a lot of development for the ensemble of characters that was lost in translation. There was just too much and not enough down time that we would have been able to see in a book.
To what I didn’t like, as I said many times above, I just struggled with the story. I didn’t feel the connection I wanted and it was so gloomy that I just began predicting the worst endings to scenes and I often found that I was right. My main fault was that I just found myself bored and numb towards the end because of how depressing it was. While I describe it as “depressing” I don’t mean sob worthy as an audience member, I mean it was depressing for the characters in those scenes. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find enough connection with the characters for this movie to be depressing for me as a viewer. I also didn’t feel like I took anything away at the end of the movie. Honestly, I’m not sure what the “lesson” was supposed to be or even how I’m supposed to feel. Normally at the end of the movie I have some lesson I can take away or something I can connect with. I would argue that True Lies has more of a lesson than this movie did. Overall I just found the emotional side lacking which led to a lack of interest through the movie and throughout. I also did not like the narration. Danielle loved the narration but it gave me Jane The Virgin vibes so I was struggling to take it seriously.
While this movie may not have been my favorite, I wouldn’t say that its a bad movie. I think if I were to have liked this southern drama mini genre before coming into the movie I think I would have had a better time. As I said before, Danielle really liked the movie and she said and I quote, “I probably won’t watch it again but I wouldn’t complain if it was playing on tv and I sat down to relax.” And honestly, I would agree with her, this isn’t a movie I would personally recommend, but she would recommend it. I feel like this isn’t a movie I would go out of my way to watch again, but who knows maybe in five or ten years when I’ll have the attention span to remember the main characters name, I’ll give it a second shot. To summarize, while I personally did not connect with the story or the characters, I can understand how some people did! This could have been a case of me just not liking the genre or not liking the tone! Anyways, if you do watch it I hope you really like it! Sorry that this is so long winded, I haven’t written in a couple days so I was very excited!