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Kinds of Kindness

By Dan Lybarger | July 8, 2024

Emily (Stone) and Andrew (Plemons) are on a quest to find the surviving member of a pair of twins who may have the power to heal. Their research techniques are amusingly ascientific and yield negligible results. Still, the two are members of a polyamorous cult who believe the elusive twin could lead to a new golden age.

The quest is based in shabby hotels, and the leader, Omi (Dafoe), and his right-hand woman, Aka (Chau), test the purity of their flock in ways that might not actually make anyone feel better.

But before pursuit seems fruitless as the rituals seem silly, one twin (Qualley) volunteers that she knows the effort is worth it after all.

Lanthimos finds plenty of excuses for couplings and stomach-churning bits. A lot of this is strangely funny, although other patrons in the theater may stare back at you with hostility when you start to chuckle.

Jerskin Fendrix’s eerily dissonant score fits the proceedings nicely. It both mocks the pretentious of Walter and Omi and gives a sense that seemingly easy options aren’t available.

Jesse Plemons in KINDS OF KINDNESS. Photo by Atsushi Nishijima. Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2024 Searchlight Pictures All Rights Reserved

“Daniel’s home videos are sentimental to him and the sort of thing that might lead to restraining orders.”

Lanthimos and Filippou throw in a few genuine surprises, but at times, these twists emerge more from sadism than good storytelling. Much of what made Poor Things more than an exercise in style is that it was easy to share in Emma Stone’s sense of discovery and with how she gradually subverted just about everybody trying to oppress her.

This time around, Lanthimos seems to be crushing his characters and, in some ways, his audience in the process. It’s one thing to give a character a bad break, but he seems to revel in their suffering.

It’s still fun to watch Stone’s characters experience delight or sometimes experience amusingly bizarre erotic gratification, and she and the other performers have a ball rotating roles in the segments.

Nonetheless, what I loved about Lanthimos’ earlier movies was that they moved my heart while making me squirm. With Kinds of Kindness, his Tin Man could use a lot more heart.

Kinds of Kindness (2024)

Directed: Yorgos Lanthimos

Written: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou

Starring: Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Mamoudou Athie, etc.

Movie score: 6/10

Kinds of Kindness Image

"…patrons in the theater may stare back at you with hostility when you start to chuckle."

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