Ben Davies’s review published on Letterboxd:
Although this is his most accessible film to date, and it’s a little obvious that he didn’t write it - there’s no doubt that this is some of Yorgos Lanthimos’ finest work. I enjoyed the sharp, humorous dialogue here but I feel that it was lacking that unique Lanthimos edge that really separates him from the crowd. That isn’t to say I didn’t like this, because I really did. It was hilarious. It was visceral. It was heart wrenching. It was disturbing. It still very much felt like a Yorgos movie - especially evident in his vibrant editing style and glossy yet hollow visuals. I’ve always admired how he brings out the best in his actors. Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone were absolutely brilliant. This has sat high on my watch list for far too long so I’m ecstatic to have finally checked it out and over the moon to say it greatly exceeded all preconceptions I had.
I know there have been questions raised about Stone’s acting abilities in the past, but her performance here really exemplifies that she has more than what it takes. Colman was certainly the star yet the rivalry between Weisz and Stone’s characters did steal the limelight rather often for me. I loved to hate Emma Stone’s character, Weisz was her usual brilliant self and I’m glad she was given the space to stretch her legs. Olivia Colman stood out the most to me though. Her character could have easily been extremely dull and one-dimensional yet she brought such complex emotional depth to the role that was genuinely captivating and wholeheartedly comedic at the same time. The combination of the three, with the addition of Nicholas Hoult, truly had me on the edge of my seat throughout every single scene. I knew I was having a great time with this, yet in typical Lanthimos fashion, I was sucked right into the love story at the heart of it all of a sudden. Towards the end I felt such attachment and investment to the love triangle and I really didn’t know who I wanted to reign victorious by the conclusion. The power dynamics amongst the characters were so amazingly developed.
I don’t know how else to describe Yorgos’ films, other than DANGEROUS. The man really knows how to stick his landing. His endings are always superb and they make you forget about every little hiccup you may have had with the film. He hits like a sledgehammer and he shows no mercy. I love it. The final act really tied things together for me, my issues with the bumbling pacing at times just faded away into nothing. I’d love to watch this again because I know there’s so much to unpack and dissect. It’s grand visuals and absurd framing allows for such familiar locations and settings to be seen in a new ray of light. I don’t adore period pieces so I was a little sceptical going into this (despite adoring everyone involved) - however, there’s no doubt this is one of the most visually stunning period pieces ever made and Yorgos really sold the surrealism of its situations in such a mesmerising way that I couldn’t help but love every minute. I think I ever-so slightly prefer TKOASD but upon a rewatch, this may just take the top spot.