Pearl (2022)

pearl movie 2022 poster mia goth
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good looking, strong performance by Goth

Too long

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Pearl

Studio:  A24/Bron Creative/Little Lamb

Genre(s):  Horror

Release Date(s):  September 3, 2022 (Venice Film Festival)/September 16, 2022 (US)

MPAA Rating:  R

pearl mia goth scarecrow dance

Oh, Scarecrow…I think I’ll miss you most of all

Pearl (Mia Goth) is a quiet German farm girl waiting for the return of her husband Howard (Alistair Sewell) from the Great War as she, her commanding mother (Tandi Wright), and her invalid father (Matthew Sunderland) remain isolated from the raging flu in their Texas farmhouse in 1918.  Pearl has bigger dreams and hopes to be on the big screen.  When she meets a projectionist (David Corenswet) who shows there is more to love and the big screen, Pearl pins her hopes and dreams of leaving her life on a dance competition…and she’ll do anything to win.

Written and directed by Ti West (with additional scripting by Mia Goth), Pearl (also called Pearl:  An X-traordinary Origin Story) is a horror slasher film.  The film is a prequel to X which was also released in 2022 and received positive reviews.

pearl dance performance audition mia goth

A little bit of singing, a little bit of dancing…a little bit of murder

I saw X just as Pearl was coming out.  I didn’t know what the story with X was, but I knew Mia Goth was in both (so I was a bit confused watching X initially).  While X borrows from movies like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes, Pearl has totally different origins.

Pearl is a riff on films like Leave Her to Heaven but also acts as a reverse CarrieLeave Her to Heaven is a melodrama with a psychologically damaged woman whose love leads to death, but Carrie also features a sheltered girl with an overpowering mother who blooms only to crash when pushed over the edge.  Here, Pearl is kept in check by her mother for good reasons…she’s psychotic and without the checks and balances, she cracks.  Instead of being a beauty when she’s free, she’s a killer.

Mia Goth does a great job as Pearl, and honestly, her performance in this is probably better than her performance in X simply because it has more meat to it.  With X she shared the screen with more people (she did it well), but Pearl mostly belongs to her.  The rest of the cast decently backs up Pearl, but it also is hard to determine since we are seeing them mostly through Pearl’s eyes.

pearl mia goth kills projectionist david corenswet

You can talk about taking a girl out of the country, but you can’t take the pitchfork out of a country girl’s hands

Visually, the movie is stunning, but it could have been pushed even more.  Like movies like Leave Her to Heaven, the film is shot in a Technicolor.  It is bright and vibrant and the reds and greens especially pop.  Later in the movie, Pearl’s duality is explored with some interesting split screen mixed with her fantasies.  I think both the colors and the stylized look could have been pushed even farther and the runtime could have been cut down to make the picture stronger.

Pearl is a good follow-up to X.  Though a prequel, it should still be watched as a follow-up simply to see how Pearl ends up.  X was a good exploration of how the elderly were once young with dreams and desires just like everyone else, and Pearl shows this youth…and how even then, you might not get much choice.  Pearl is followed by MaXXXine.

Related Links:

X (2022)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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