top of page

Jesse Plemons and Emma Stone Get Weird in New Yorgos Lanthimos Ensemble 'Kinds of Kindness'

Director Yorgos Lanthimos delights in making his audience squirm. Whether it's the unpredictable antics in "The Lobster" or the sexually charged vibrations of "Poor Things," the Greek auteur is a master at taking established concepts and making them seem comically original. Striving to connect on a different level utilizing the talents of "Dogtooth" screenwriter Efthimis Filippou, Lanthimos' newest feature is the dark comedy "Kinds of Kindness."

Separated by three distinct chapters mirroring a Netflix anthology series, "Kinds of Kindness" takes us on a wild, nearly 3-hour journey through absurdist humanistic takes. Co-starring previous Lanthimos muses Emma Stone, Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn, and Willem Dafoe, talented actors Jesse Plemons, Hong Chau, Hunter Schafer, and Mamoudou Athie join the ensemble of what might be the most talked about movie of the year. Unfortunately for Lanthimos and company, the film fails to live up to its potential. Still, it brings a comedic look at several group dynamics set to the tune of the Eurythmics classic, "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)."

The first chapter of the film follows Plemons as a man seeking another future after being controlled by his manipulative boss (Dafoe), everything from what he eats to when he's allowed to have sex. The second story in this anthology shows Plemons again, this time as a spouse whose wife (Stone) has gone missing, only to have her found, and he insists she's an imposter. The final chapter depicts Stone and Plemons as cult members tasked with finding a chosen one with a supernatural ability to resurrect the dead.   

An ensemble film like nothing Yorgos Lanthimos has attempted before, "Kinds of Kindness" veers into feral directions. It is a showcase for Plemons, an actor desperately needing a lead role like this to demonstrate the range of his talent. Stone is wonderful as always, seemingly solidifying the collaboration with Lanthimos that's so far earned her an Academy Award for "Poor Things" and possibly a nomination for this film as well. The rest of the cast is fantastic in their respective roles, though this film will not be for everyone.

There doesn't seem to be much of a flow between chapters, though themes of sexual fluctuations, power, influence, and misunderstandings emerge spectacularly. Just when you expect Lanthimos has pushed the boundaries of what is possible within a minor storyline, he challenges his audience to think outside of the box and go along with ridiculous plot holes that don't always resolve themselves in a nice little package.  

Admittingly, I am hit or miss with much of Yorgos Lanthimos' filmography. However, I do love "The Favourite" and "Poor Things" as examples of female independence in a strikingly dark comedic manner. "Kinds of Kindness" takes us back to Lanthimos' filmmaking techniques in the early part of his career, emphasizing Plemons and Stone's characters in robust ways that give both performers time to shine in a multitude of ways. Even though the film's structure is similar to a 3-hour binge watch of an anthology series, I would've preferred to know more about Plemons' character from the first chapter.

Once you get used to the characters presented on screen, the credits roll on that specific chapter, and you are thrown into a brand new story with new characters played by the same actors. It's jarring at first but gets uncomfortably fun toward the film's final moments.

"Kinds of Kindness" is a complicated watch in some areas, especially when Lantihmos goes full throttle into the horniness and sexual spaces he's become famous for in many of his movies. This is not the director's best, but it's quintessential Lanthimos with his outlandish sense of humor and drive. It's not as funny as "Poor Things" or as demented as "The Lobster," but "Kinds of Kindness" has an appeal to it primarily due to the varying characters within the anthology, giving every actor their own unique moments to let loose.

Ticket Rating: 🎟🎟🎟1/2


bottom of page