Discussion does contain some spoilers
I went into this film knowing it was a marmite film and that generally people were falling into either the ‘it’s a masterful work of genius’ or ‘it’s a pile of poop’ camp. Some people from the former have made suggestions that those who don’t like it don’t understand cinema, metaphor etc.
What I liked
The acting Especially from the main female leads.
Jennifer Lawrence did an excellent job as a slightly downtrodden but lovestruck wife.
Michelle Pfeiffer is amazing as a bitchy older woman who acts much much younger and is very very unaware of personal boundaries.
The use of setting
The house in the middle of nowhere and it’s alive. The setting definitely ratcheted up the tension.
The first part
Initially the film shows you the peace of Lawrence and Bardem’s couple being shattered by the arrival of someone who turns up saying ‘they’ said you were a B and B. Who are they and why is Bardem so accepting of inviting strangers into their house and so dismissive of his wife’s concerns? Creepy enough.
What I didn’t like
The film length
I was definitely watch watching and the pacing at the end was so off I would not have been distraught it the film had abruptly ended.
By the time the Gleeson brothers (sons of Harris and Pfeiffer’s characters) turned up my friend and I were laughing incredulously and almost wondering when the marching band and jugglers were on their way.
The gratuitous violence
There’s a bit with a baby that was bad enough but when Jennifer’s character was being beaten I had to look away from the screen.
The odd supernatural elements
Personally I’d have found it more effective had their just been a creepy fan come to meet his favourite author but what even happened at the end??
Issues re consent and vulgar language
There’s a bit where the traditional ‘man attacks woman she fights then gives into passion’ trope and the use of c**t etc when a man doesn’t get his own way.
That scene was so odd. I’d have preferred a gradual appreciation of her state of affairs rather than the supernatural we had sex last night and now I know I’m pregnant oddity.
Themes/Use of metaphor
There has been discussion about religious allegory which I kind of understand. But what I read into it more was things like the absurdity of celebrity. The lack of agency that women often have over their bodies when pregnant. The disintegration of relationships where couples don’t truly discuss what is happening and tiptoe round things.
I’m sure the film does have some very clever things to say but to me it just wasn’t enjoyable enough to warrant a rewatch to work them out. Remove lots of the second half of the film, especially once Bardem has written again and it might be something worth exploring.
Maybe save to watch on the telly box rather than spending £9 to be confused.