We discover the difficulties that accompany bodybuilding. Massive cramping, extremely restrictive diet, and what is possibly the worst one, “drying out.” To meet the exact weight requirements and to have nothing between their muscles and their skin, the athletes rarely drink water, while still lifting hundreds and hundreds of pounds.
This film is incredibly visually arresting and at times reminds me of a more restrained Gasper Noé film. There’s an incredible electronic soundtrack throughout and a feeling of constant motion with the cameras. Pearl also reminds me of Ulrich Seidel’s work. With the documentary feel and the desperation of the characters, the film is entirely unique in its own right.
“…found myself definitely not identifying with Léa at all for the first third of the film, but she grew on me the more the film went on…”
The story arc to the film is very satisfying. I found myself definitely not identifying with Léa at all for the first third of the film, but she grew on me the more the film went on. My favorite performance in the whole film is Vidal Arzoni’s in the role of Joe. He is one of the best child actors I’ve seen in quite some time. He breaks your heart throughout.
I think it’s fair to mention that there is not very much sentimentality in this film, at least not till the last third. It cast a rather glaring lens on its subjects and subject matter. Léa’s treatment of her son in the first ⅔’s of the movie is particularly discomfiting. However, Pearl is beautiful and unapologetic. It brings us to a place of understanding Léa, whose name is actually Julia, by the time the credits roll. If you admire the works of Noé and Seidl (particularly Models), I would seek Pearl out immediately.
"…we discover the difficulties that accompany bodybuilding."