On Body and Soul

On Body and Soul ★★★★½

Warning: this movie (but not this review) contains unusually graphic scenes of violence against animals.

On Body and Soul is an engrossingly tactile movie about the need to be touched, in both the physical and emotional senses of the concept. Despite its cool, quiet, "slow" contemporary European art film style, Ildikó Enyedi's drama becomes quickly and emotionally personal thanks to two perfectly intimate performances by Géza Morcsányi and Alexandra Borbély, playing co-workers at an industrial slaughterhouse who share a unique connection.

While I may have preferred different handling of or outcomes from a few moments or scenes, Enyedi's choices somehow always feel right and thoughtful despite minor misgivings, and rarely have my feelings for characters snuck up on me so strongly and unexpectedly -- The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is comparable in that regard. The aggregate of subtle and self-denied yearning in On Body and Soul is, ultimately, overwhelming, culminating in extremely special experience.

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