Pearl (Mia Goth) will never understand why something is wrong with her. This is Pearl Review & Film Summary.
Pearl (Mia Goth) will never understand why something is wrong with her. She’s too set in her ways, whether it’s her need to dance with a pitchfork while performing on haystacks or her tendency to murder animals when no one is looking.
She aspires to leave her remote farm in 1918 Texas and encounter the love that comes with performing and being perceived as an entertainer rather than one’s true self.
It’s unlikely that any of her future celebrity biographies would ever mention that she once used a pitchfork to impale a duck, then fed the bird to her best friend, an alligator (as we see when her name splashed across the screen in the opening credits).
The terrifying nature of actors who feed the destructive desire to be seen at all costs is the subject of Ti West’s “Pearl.” Given that we already know she survives to 1979 in West’s “X,” it is only fitting that the film’s most brilliant scene, which also happens to be its final shot, features Goth using her face for ominous purposes.
It’s a wide, forced smile; her teeth indicate joy, but her jerkily twitching facial muscles and welling tears, all while frozen in that desperation, say something much scarier. When the credits roll, director Adam West forces us to look at it.
It’s all wildly, wonderfully unsettling, and one wishes this character study would work harder to achieve that effect even when telling a narrative that isn’t as complex as its final, silent plea for assistance.
However, given how overtly portraying a monster the plot and dialogue from co-writers West and Goth can be, it can be entertaining to read Pearl’s declarations throughout her movie as double-speak from an actor and a serial killer, such as “The whole world is going to know my name,” “I don’t like reality,” and “All I want is to be loved.”
Goth expresses these revelations with a breathy, heavily accented voice that is intended to make Pearl sound somewhat innocent and naive, a carbon copy of the countless Pearls out there. Goth makes these revelations count in primal showcases.
Related Article: Empire Review & Movie Summary
Later, a long-running close-up of Goth takes us on a wild ride through her fears of being her true self and her anxieties about not being loved. She is unaware that the sudden turn within her is about to happen, especially after someone makes her feel small. Then they pay the price for it.
People who watched “X” this year will recall the farm where a few people from adult films perished as well as the elderly Goth Pearl, who was frequently exposed, rejected, and took everything very personally for a series of events a la “The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.”
The few murders in “Pearl” are more calculated and serve as climaxes to scenes depicting her own frustration, anger, and rejection. As the camera slowly spins at one point in anticipation of Pearl entering the frame, West makes those moments count by evoking dread. His editing is also brutal.
They’re meant to be played as dark comedies, typically taking place in Pearl’s psychosis and in broad daylight. Even though the tone of the mix isn’t as poignant as it could be, the kills are still successfully bracing.
Similar shots are used of the house as in “X,” but Eliot Rockett’s cinematography transforms it into a world of potential and glowing Technicolor. This includes bright green grass, a farmhouse painted blood red, and Pearl wearing blue overalls as she fantasizes about escaping.
Inside the house, where Pearl’s life of loneliness and extreme unhappiness is not an anomaly, things are less rosy. Her father (Matthew Sunderland), who is ill and verbally incapacitated, requires constant care.
While “Pearl” is a horror film, Goth’s character also has a villain of her own in the form of Ruth, who was brilliantly portrayed by Tandi Wright in “Mommy Dearest” with a suffocating disgust.