Kinds of Kindness Review

Reviewed on May 17th at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival – Competition. 165 Mins

Cast: Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, Mamoudou Athie, Hunter Schafer

Genre: Comedy, Drama

Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

In Irish Cinemas: 28th June 2024


Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Margaret Qualley, and Willem Dafoe headline ‘Kinds of Kindness’, the latest film by Yorgos Lanthimos, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival. Known for its dark and disturbing humor, this film showcases Lanthimos’s signature style in three blackly comic sketches set in contemporary America. Following his award-winning films The Favourite and Poor Things, Lanthimos opts for a simpler format with Kinds of Kindness. Eschewing grandiose epics and period settings, the film features three interconnected short stories starring a recurring ensemble cast that includes Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Hong Chau, Joe Alwyn, Margaret Qualley, and Mamoudou Athie.

Co-written by Lanthimos’s frequent collaborator Efthymis Filippou, the film offers a return to the director’s roots with themes reminiscent of The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Fans of Lanthimos will relish this trilogy of dark, absurdist tales, each showcasing his characteristic blend of off-kilter humor and unsettling realism. True to form, the film concludes with one of Lanthimos’s trademark wacky dance routines. In the first sketch, Plemons plays Robert, a middle manager under the thumb of a domineering boss, played by Dafoe. Robert follows bizarre daily instructions dictating everything from his attire to his sex life, rewarded with rare sports memorabilia for his compliance. However, when tasked with causing a car crash, Robert begins to question his blind obedience.


The second story follows a policeman (Plemons) whose wife (Stone) vanishes during a diving trip. When she is found on a desert island, he suspects she might not be the same person.


The final segment features Plemons and Stone as members of a seaside cult led by Dafoe and Chau. Their mission is to find a woman who can resurrect the dead, leading to a dangerous pursuit in a purple sports car.


Across all three stories, Lanthimos explores the extremes of co-dependent relationships. The first segment stands out as a sharp corporate satire, evoking the works of Armando Iannucci, Christopher Morris, and Charlie Brooker. Dafoe’s character demands “love” from his subordinates, resulting in unsettling yet truthful acts of devotion. While the other two segments are less cohesive, they are all performed with excellence and maintain Lanthimos’s distinctively unsettling humor.


However, the film’s nearly hour-long segments could benefit from tighter editing. Comparable in theme to the TV series Inside No. 9, each story might have been more impactful at half the length. The ironic title, Kinds of Kindness, belies the film’s pervasive cruelty. While Lanthimos’s dark comedy often flirts with discomfort, some scenes cross into genuinely disturbing territory, particularly those involving the degradation of women. Shots of semi-naked women being humiliated detract from the comedic elements and raise concerns about gratuitousness. Unlike Poor Things, where sex and nudity served the narrative of Bella’s liberation, Kinds of Kindness struggles to justify its more unsettling scenes. Despite these issues, Kinds of Kindness offers a compelling, if deeply disturbing, entry into Lanthimos’s oeuvre, demonstrating his continued mastery of dark, satirical storytelling.

Overall: 6/10

Share now!

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us

Scroll to Top