This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. I technically didn’t see it at the festival but since it was originally at the festival and had its theatrical release during the festival, I will include it with the rest of our coverage. If you would like to keep up with our content, click here.
Synopsis: A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence. (IMDB)
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, and Ed Harris
Writer: Darren Aronofsky
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Rating: 18A (Canada)/R (United States)
Running Time: 121mins
People will be talking about this film for years to come as it’s storytelling is definitely left up to interpretation. This is the kind of film that has to be watched a few times to get everything as it will be difficult for most to truly get everything that was going on here after one viewing (I have some ideas but if you’re like me, I found some more information here). This is because the story isn’t exactly the easiest to describe. Basically, the film is about an unnamed couple (Lawrence and Bardem) who live in a secluded house in the middle of the woods. Without giving anything away, weird things start to happen once an older couple (Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer) show up.
The weirdness builds in a way that perhaps will be too slow for some because it is very difficult to tell where the story is going (which was probably the point). Once the plot reaches its apex, it manages to get both super crazy and extremely uncomfortable. While it was thrilling to watch, if you’re lost at this point then you probably won’t care very much about the proceedings. Again, the film doesn’t explain anything, creating plenty of WTF moments throughout, including the end, which may leave some people feeling cheated (assuming they haven’t walked out).
The best part of the film had to be Lawrence as the wife, called mother here. The film focused on her character and she delivered, carrying the film with her emotional performance. She was very captivating to watch with all the closeups of her character and the progression of her character was the best. She also had great chemistry with Bardem as her husband. Bardem as the husband, called him here, was great at being both charming and sinister. Harris and Pfeiffer were good in their limited screen time but it would have been nice to have seen more of them. All the characters were interesting, however, they were not overly deep, being more of a means to the symbolism and metaphors being presented.
Overall, this was an experience like none other. Some may be frustrated with the slow and confusing story but it isn’t meant to be interpreted in the traditional sense. The best films are the ones that stay with you long after watching and this will surely do that. While not perfect, it was still entertaining to watch and well acted by Lawrence and Bardem.