Jake Rosenberg’s review published on Letterboxd:
Theatrical cut: 4/5
Director’s Cut: 4.5/5
Probably the bleakest opening in all of cinema. One of the most gorgeous looking, beautifully shot films ever made. From the editing that makes brilliant use of dissolves to the hypnotically versatile score, from the intricate sound design to the simple yet picturesque set design, this is aesthetically perfect. Having recently rewatched Hereditary, & seeing this the original way for the first time since seeing the extended version, I’m pretty turned off of Aster’s didactic writing style of spelling it out for you to the point where it feels like I’m being taught how to read like it’s kindergarten. Furthermore, the cheapness of the character development feels like classed up exploitation, gaining empathy for Dani from the onset in a way that’s easy due to her situation without having to dig deeper. Florence Pugh is easily on par with Toni Collette, & maybe even better, but Annie > Dani easily. At least I can definitively say I prefer the Director’s Cut, since going back to this is like going to watch regular Return of the King after seeing its extended edition; there’s just no going back. And my god, is Pawel Pogorzelski human? The lush color palette, realistic lighting, depth of field, tactile movements, long ASL, motivated inserts/cutaways, select use of focus...there are too many great cinematographers working today for me to say this & not sound reductive, but we may have the next Roger Deakins on our hands. All in all, while I can understand the disdain for Ari’s vision, he brings it to life so vividly & absorbingly that you can’t call this a total failure. Dude’s got panache to spare, succeeding effortlessly in his craft & execution. He’s keeping cinema alive with fresh & interesting work, & I’ll watch this silly Jew’s flicks as long as he keeps making them.