The Perfection, directed by Richard Shepard, is a film that is being referenced to as Netflix’s next viral sensation following in the path of the success of Birdbox. The film is gaining attraction to viewers due to people speaking out to say that the movie made them feel sick or want to vomit because of the thematic material that takes place throughout the film.
The film follows a musical prodigy who left her place of education in order to care for her sick mother, and the woman, Elizabeth, who took her place. With her mother dead, Charlotte decides to try to get back into the musical world she left behind and strange events begin to occur after coming in contact with Elizabeth and her superiors.
Though the film seems to have a straight-forward plot, it pulls the rug beneath the viewers multiple times throughout the film and provides new perspectives on previous events that impact the future of the film. To say that this film is full of twists would be an understatement. The Perfection is a film that revels in knowing what the audience does not, and that makes it an enjoyable experience. At first, the film seems to follow in the path of Black Swan, setting up a rivalry and sexual tension between two characters who are equally talented, but it quickly departs from that and bounces from multiple genres of horror. The shifts in genre allow the film to be as surprising and convoluted as it is, varying from vanilla gross-out to slasher horror. The filmmakers achieve this by separating the film into chapters, shifting to a different type of horror with each installment. This format of storytelling works well with the portrayal of the characters because the antagonist of the film is never quite clear or revealed until the final act of the film, so the audience is reluctant to trust any of the leads throughout the film which leads to an enjoyable viewing experience grounded in a desire to discover the truth.
In certain instances of the film, the dialogue does not work well and that negatively impacts the acting of the actresses in that the things they say appear forced rather than fluid. Both lead actresses are great but their ability does not save certain scenes that take place in the film. For instance, the scene in which Elizabeth is hallucinating on the side of the road. Charlotte, Allison Williams, pulls out a butcher’s knife and her dialogue and actions border on cheesy and weak but is ultimately saved by a later reveal. The film continues and occasionally has similar moments that appear as if the writer was striving to write a scene with a character speaking a phrase that would later become something iconic in nature but it never reaches that status. Those moments come and they cause the film to falter in quality but they never inspire so much damage that would render the entire film to be an awkward mess. The film rises from those weak moments almost always.
As mentioned before, the minor influence Black Swan has on the film is apparent but the film does not use the sexually-charged relationship in a similar way. The film features queer women and never uses it as a motif for sexual exploration or desire. It is instead presented as something normal, something that’s just a thing that takes place in the world of the film which is quite interesting to see since relationships like that are not represented as much as they should be. The film does not fetishize their relationship as most films featuring same-sex relationships do, and the film’s love scene in the first act never boarders on exploitive which is quite refreshing.
An issue people may have with the film is the rape storyline that is revealed at the end of the film and ultimately leads to a rape-revenge style of filmmaking that is more disturbing than graphic. It is disturbing in the nature of how the film reveals how the women were abused and sexually assaulted by the people in charge of the school, thus revealing who the true villains of the film are. Viewers have and may find that aspect of the film to be distressing and triggering because of the imagery and overall content of that act.
Here’s some advice: if one were to select a film with an R or MA rating, they should do some research regarding the content beforehand. The film rating provides a list of content within itself but if that is not clear, then check IMDB or any other film platform like Common Sense Media that show people exactly what is in the film. The R rating essentially means restricted, which details how it is not recommended for viewers under seventeen or those who are not comfortable with graphic material, whether that be language, violence, or anything of a higher caliber. That rating in itself should inspire viewers to be aware and understand the type of film they are about to watch before they decide upon viewing it.
If someone is seeking a thriller with multiple twists and unreliable characters, then they should check out The Perfection.
Release Date: May 24, 2019
Starring: Allison Williams, Logan Browning, Alaina Huffman & Steve Weber
Director: Richard Shepard
Distributor: Capstone Film Group, Netflix, Miramax
Audience: Late teenagers and adults
Runtime: 90 Minutes
Official Website: https://www.netflix.com/title/80211638
Daniel Barrios | Writing Contributor
B.A | Film Production | California Baptist University
Hello, my name is Daniel Barrios and I am a film student with an interest in photography and philosophy. I spend most of my free time working on as many short films as I can so that I can stay active within my career of choice and be experienced enough to make decent short films of my own. My main goal as a filmmaker is to create something meaningful and unflinchingly honest that will help others feel understood. I aspire to create a conversation about pressing topics that are overlooked by society, like the way women, undocumented immigrants & minorities are treated. Mainly, I would like to be the person I needed when I was younger for others. I am open-minded and love being informed about issues that currently affect my generation and below. I love watching arthouse films, reading poetry, and listening to music at the end of my day. When I’m not in class, you can probably find me at a thrift store looking for vhs tapes or with my friends eating Taco Bell late at night. | View My Articles
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