Beanpole ★★★★½

AFI Fest 2019: Movie #6

“What if it’s a miracle?”
“It’s not.“

Such a disturbing, emotionally complex look at the affects of war and great tragedy on two women in a toxic relationship. Both characters are so limited in terms of their larger ability to feel fulfilled, so they instead take control of the few aspects of their lives they can lead. For much of the film, there’s a clear sense of victim and abuser, but the actions of one of the women is so hard to get past that even that dynamic feels complicated. There’s emotional violence and manipulation, overt blackmail even, yet there’s never not this mutual understanding of support between them.

It’s so upsetting, but the truly exquisite direction and overall look of the film makes it hard to look away. The deeply saturated colors pulled me in and never let me go until the final frame. The pacing may turn more people off than even the subject matter will, but I do encourage you to try this if you can stomach it. It is brutal in its honesty, but there is always respect for the characters we follow. There is hope to be found here yet.

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