Spoiler alert: The “Pearl” and “X” plot will be fully discussed in this article.
Who knew that a church dance experience would lead to one of the movie’s strongest monologues of the year?
Such is the case with “Pearl,” T West’s twisted and hallucinatory poem to the Technicolor era film. It’s a prequel to the dirty porn shooter “X” of the year, in which Mia Goth plays an aspiring XXX actress as well as an older, make-up, almost unrecognizable woman named Pearl, who ends up killing most of the film crew who were staying on her farm. In the most recent film, Goth performed a third role of Pearl as a girl.
This serial killer’s origin story discovers Pearl is trapped on her family’s farm in 1918, with her husband Howard away from Texas while fighting in the war, leaving her to continue the household chores of her strict German immigrant mother and ailing father. When she dreams of a life dancing on the silver screen, she quickly turns to murder after being reprimanded by her mother, rejected by her theatrical lover and her father’s “mercy killing”, which will just be a heavy burden on her journey to shoot for stardom.
Pearl was invited to a church dance audition by her sister-in-law Mitsi (Emma Jenkins-Borough) and despite being given a flowery performance, was turned down by the judges because they were looking for a blonde dancer with a fresh face. In an attempt to calm a distraught Pearl, Mitsi takes her home and invites her to practice what she will tell Howard in order to make her feel better, as she shoots one of the best scenes of 2022, including a nine-minute monologue from Goth that leads to the casting of Master.
“I hate you so much that you left me here, and sometimes I wish you were dead,” Pearl begins sharply, lost in a dream talking to her soldier husband. “I’m sorry, I feel terrible to admit it, but it is the truth.” Confession upsets audiences more than Pearl’s axe earlier in the film, ringing in the unspoken honesty of a woman facing loneliness and depression while her husband is around the world, his fate unknown.
“I wish things could go back to how they were before, but I don’t see how they could, not after the things I’ve done,” continues her conversation with increasingly troubled Mitsei.
Pearl continues, unguarded and frank about her miscarriage (“I never wanted to be a mother. I hated the feeling growing inside of me, I felt sick…I felt so relieved when she died”), disbelief and murderous anger.
With the camera locked to her face in close-up, the audience is constantly thinking of Mitsi on the other side of the table, forced to keep her face straight while hearing these forbidden ads. As Pearl concludes, lamenting that she will probably be stuck on the farm forever, she delivers her shattered mission statement: “All I really want is to be loved. I’m having such a hard time without him lately.” As Pearl bows her head, exhausted and silent, Mitsy finds her chance to leave the room, but is stuck in one last conversation, while the other shoe drops and Pearl congratulates her sister-in-law on getting the dance part.
Although Mitsi denies this, the scene takes the drama even further as Pearl urges her blonde cousin to acknowledge her success and even says “I’m so happy for you.” Straining off the tension, Guth appears to be down to earth to find frustration in the situation but don’t blame her family. But after thinking about it, Pearl gritted her teeth and muttered, “You always get what you want,” and poor Mitsi would obviously never make it to the stage.
The scene is reminiscent of the tense opening of Quentin Tarantino’s 2009 movie “Inglourious Basterds,” in which Nazi Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) has a long discussion with farmer Perrier Labadet (Denis Menochet), as both parties – and the audience – become increasingly certain that a Jewish family is in hiding. In the house floor slabs, things will not end peacefully. This scene ended up being one of the most memorable films, and it sparked a furore over Waltz’s first Academy Award.
During the beginning of her monologue, Pearl laments, “The truth is, I’m not a really good person.” Although it’s easy to classify the axe-wielding movie star in this way, the reality is more complicated. She’s a broken person, a loving person, a lonely person at a time in American history when women had to be the supporting rock back home. Guth plays a woman who misbehaves out of time, brushing off the edges of her character, her hopes, and her desires.
It’s easy to think that Pearl might find a kind soul in the titular heroine of Chantal Ackermann’s 1975 film Jane Dillman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles. In this historical feminist work, Jane experiences ordinary days of doing housework and making ends meet through separatist sex work, leading to a tragic end where an unexpected climax leads to her murder by John. A mixture of the mundane, the domestic, and the excitement all come to a tragic ending that illuminates both works.
The stunning final scene of “Pearl” – Howard returns home to a dinner table full of Pearl’s victims, his wife eager to welcome him – ends with minutes on end of a goth grinning from ear to ear, every muscle in her face to exaggerate, tears occasionally breaking as she stares. Her eyes are in the barrel of the camera. It’s a visual spectacle that matches Pearl’s inevitable fate in the decades before “X”: trapped in the Technicolor nightmare of her Texas farm, he grins to distract from crying. (Another similarity to ‘Jane Dillman’: Jane was taken for seven straight minutes after she stabbed her John, ending the movie.)
Despite the excitement among fans and even the joint banner from Martin Scorsese (“I was so intrigued, then annoyed, then so unsettled that I had trouble sleeping. But I couldn’t stop watching.”), “Pearl” appears destined to be overlooked her as a serious offer to act. Horror is always ignored when it comes to prizes for attention. Some of the indelible performances of the past decade have been underestimated simply because of the genre: Florence Pugh in “Midsommar,” Lupita Nyong’o in “Us,” Toni Collette in “Hereditary,” Anya Taylor-Joy in “The Witch.” ”
However, Goth flexes every muscle throughout the film, nailing down the silly and honest moments. For every smashing monologue, there’s a comedic beat around the corner, or just a stunning scene of Pearl jumping with a bloody axe. And while acting classes will inevitably be filled with tear-jerking performances about the pain of growing up or the grief of losing a family member, how many roles require a major role to accidentally rise and drain a scarecrow to orgasm? This is a range that Oscar voters should fall behind.