New from A Reel of One’s Own by Andrea Thompson: Chicago Critics Film Festival 2019: The Perfection

By Andrea Thompson

There will not be any neutral feelings on the Netflix film “The Perfection,” which takes some wildly unexpected turns. At least until they become expected, or just downright baffling. The movie follows Charlotte (Allison Williams), a troubled cellist prodigy who gave up her talent to care for her ailing mother for ten years. After her mother passes, she seeks out her old instructors, as well as the young woman who took her place as their star, Elizabeth (Logan Browning).

The two quickly form a connection that turns physical, then bloody. And it’s just the beginning of the many turns as you’ll try to guess not only what the hell will happen next, but what genre this movie falls in. “The Perfection” is clearly trying to be a revenge pic with a whole lot of body horror, but such things tend to work best in the indie scene, when smaller budgets add to the charm, even if inadvertently. But the female trauma in the disturbingly sleek “The Perfection” is exploitation for the sake of exploitation, or rather, the resulting gore and shock value.

Williams and Browning are an incredible pair as they try to sell the hell out of this, but the material just isn’t worth the effort, especially when the disturbing dynamics and the racial history behind their relationship go completely unexplored. (At least there’s some kudos due for the sexiest classical performance since “Stoker.”) If this is really your genre, check out the French film “Revenge.” Not only is it a far better example of what “The Perfection” fails to do, it’s also written and directed by a woman, which makes all the difference in attempting to make art out of women’s trauma.

Grade: D-

from A Reel Of One’s Own

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