Home Kinds Of Kindness

Kinds Of Kindness (18)

Cast: Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Plemons
Genre: Comedy
Author(s): Efthymis Filippou, Yorgos Lanthimos
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Release Date: 28/06/2024
Running Time: 164mins
Country: US/UK/Ire
Year: 2024

A blackly humorous anthology of three loosely interconnected stories. In The Death Of R.M.F., compliant employee Robert allows his boss Raymond to dictate every decision he takes. In R.M.F. Is Flying, cop Daniel is initially delighted when his missing wife Liz returns home but he begins to suspect she is a doppelganger. Finally in R.M.F. Eats A Sandwich, sex cult leaders Omi and Aka dispatch acolytes Emily and Andrew to search for a female twin blessed with the power to reanimate the dead.


LondonNet Film Review

Kinds Of Kindness (18) Film Review from LondonNet

The pulsating bassline of Eurythmics’ chart-topping 1983 hit Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) plays over the opening sequence of Kinds Of Kindness then reverberates from inside a car as it pulls into the driveway of a well-appointed house. “Hold your head up, keep your head up…” trills lead singer Annie Lennox. Her encouragement should be taken literally by the characters in a blackly humorous anthology of three loosely interconnected stories, which reunites Oscar-nominated director Yorgos Lanthimos with actors Emma Stone and Willem Dafoe and The Lobster co-writer Efthimis Filippou…

After the supremely entertaining and visually ravishing double whammy of The Favourite and Poor Things, this fanciful triptych is an uncharacteristic slog from the Greek filmmaker. The first character to demonstrate genuine kindness on screen doesn’t manifest until the third hour and attention is wavering. Considered individually, the three stories are intriguing diversions that ramp up the weirdness but neglect the wonder, observing human frailties at close quarters. As a compendium, Kinds Of Kindness proves more tiresome than tantalising. Jesse Plemons snags the meatiest role in two of the three chapters and is especially compelling as a spineless yes man, who dares to utter “no” for the first time.

The Death Of R.M.F. introduces sharp-suited corporate lackey Robert Fletcher (Plemons), who allows his boss Raymond (Dafoe) to dictate every aspect of his life including the clothes he wears, the time he makes love to his wife Sarah (Hong Chau) and the food he eats. “Skinny men are the most ridiculous thing,” scoffs Raymond. Robert’s unerring dedication is tested when Raymond issues orders to commit vehicular homicide by intentionally driving into the car of the enigmatic R.M.F. (Yorgos Stefanakos).

Next in R.M.F. Is Flying, police officer Daniel (Plemons) awaits news about his marine biologist wife Liz (Stone), who is lost at sea. A telephone call confirms she has been found alive but Daniel’s joy is short-lived as he observes radical changes to Liz’s behaviour. “That woman is not my wife!” Daniel whispers to best friend Neil (Mamoudou Athie). Finally in R.M.F. Eats A Sandwich, sex cult leaders Omi (Dafoe) and Aka (Chau) despatch acolytes Emily (Stone) and Andrew (Plemons) to search for a living female twin blessed with the power to reanimate the dead. A veterinarian named Ruth (Qualley) may fulfil the prophecy but Emily is “contaminated” by an urge to reconnect with her husband (Joe Alwyn) and daughter (Merah Benoit).

Kinds Of Kindness performs some of the same narrative tricks as Lanthimos’s earlier films but without a sense of urgency or clear purpose. The ensemble cast navigate each chapter with unwavering trust in their filmmaker. Full frontal nudity and graphic sex scenes support a running theme of domination but also feel gratuitous. Kind of disappointing.

– Sarah Lee


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