Pearl Image


By Bobby LePire | October 3, 2022

Near the end of the taut 100-minute runtime, Goth has a six-minute monologue. If there’s justice in the world, she’ll receive all the accolades and awards for that scene alone. Happily, Goth gives a flawless performance. She turns from a giddy dreamer to a psychopathic killer with the slightest change of expression. She’s charming, fun, scary, and heartbreaking all at once. Wright is intense and brutal as the mom, but the actor never turns the role into a villain. A stunning dinner scene shows how much she knows and how much she does love her daughter.

The rest of the cast of Pearl is just as good. While she only has a handful of scenes, Jenkins-Purro is terrific, especially during and after the dance audition. Corenswet is charming and very good-looking, making Pearl’s temptations believable. When he tells Pearl that she’s “scaring him,” he’s almost as heartbroken as she is. Brilliant stuff, truly.

“…Goth gives a flawless performance.”

The script is actually light on story, which may drive some folks crazy. This is much more about the title character and reaction to events than a focused narrative. Others might take issue with the small way porn enters the picture, as X is very much about that. But, it is present, and since Pearl is still youthful, it is more about breaking taboos and doing what feels right than sexuality, youth, or beauty. This change of focus makes sense, given where Pearl is here versus the other flick.

West’s bold, stylish direction and brilliant use of color and shadow push Pearl into a whole different level of horror. Goth carries the picture with a bit of acting that is subtle and over-the-top at the same time. How? I don’t know, but I know it works wonders. Her castmates are equally as brilliant, while the music keeps the tone in proper balance. This isn’t just a great horror movie or one of the best films of the year (though it is on both counts); it is a modern-day classic begging to be studied, analyzed, dissected, and discussed for hundreds of years to come. Now excuse me while I pre-order tickets to MaXXXine.

Pearl (2022)

Directed: Ti West

Written: Ti West, Mia Goth

Starring: Mia Goth, David Corenswet, Tandi Wright, Emma Jenkins-Purro, Matthew Sunderland, Alistar Sewell, etc.

Movie score: 10/10

Pearl Image

"…in style, execution, look, and feel, this is a golden age title."

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