The Perfection: What a wild ride!
Charlotte (Allison Williams, Get Out) was once a cello prodigy studying at the Bachoff Academy of Music. Her music career came to an abrupt stop when she was forced to drop out of the academy to take care of her sick mother. Years later her mother has finally passed, and Charlotte has the freedom to choose her own path once more.
She heads to Shanghai, China to see her former mentor Anton Bachoff (Steven Weber, The Shining) and his wife Paloma (Alaina Huffman, Amber Alert). Together these two run the cello school Charlotte once attended. They are in China hosting a competition for potential new cello students. The three meet for a hug and we see the scars on Charlotte’s wrists as they embrace.
She soon meets Lizzie (Logan Browning, Dear White People), who arrived at the academy years ago when Charlotte left. She seems to have replaced Charlotte as Anton’s favorite over the years. Lizzie has chased after a solo career, achieving everything that Charlotte once longed for. She is rich, famous, and talented. As the night continues Lizzie and Charlotte end up making a connection as they bond over their shared experiences. They even hook up.
The next day they wake up in the same bed and Lizzie invites Charlotte to join her on the trip she had planned through western China. Having no other responsibilities, Charlotte eagerly agrees. While on a bus in the middle of nowhere Lizzie starts to get sick. She continues to get worse and worse. The two are freaking out, not knowing how to handle the situation, unfamiliar with their surroundings, and unable to communicate with the other passengers. The intensity picks up and more crazy symptoms appear. They get off the train and keep walking. Lizzie thinks there are bugs crawling under her skin and Charlotte ends up handing Lizzie a knife to cut off her hand. Then the film rewinds. It plays through again from the moment they woke up, but this time adding in different scenes that make the story even more complex.
Charlotte and Lizzie have to deal with the consequences of that day as time goes on. The film plays with this rewinding tool again as the plot continues to develop. The story seems to be playing out one way but after rewinding and adding to the story each time it gets more and more wild. Now I don’t want to spoil the entirety of the film, but I do want to add one more thing. After a little thought I wish I would have had a warning myself before getting into this movie so here is one for you. As the movie continues, both rape and child sexual abuse become a major part of the story. Both women have to deal with what has happened to them in the past and the film does not shy away from these subjects at all.
I expected a horror movie but there were less of those elements and more drama and thrill. There is quite a bit of violence and gore in parts of the film, most of which are paired with revenge.
The filmmakers play with rewinding the film multiple times, showing parts of the story in a new light and others that weren’t shown before. Each time everything is switched up. Just when you think you have a grasp on the story and know what is going to happen next, it changes every single time. On more than one occasion you will realize you actually have no idea what is going on. Sometimes it works while other times not so much. You may catch yourself being a bit confused.
The two main characters were played by extremely talented actresses. You can imagine the talent considering how much of a hit the film Get Out was and continues to be. Allison Williams starred in that film as Rose Armitage and she brought another powerful performance to this film. Dear White People is an extremely popular show and while each character gets a chance at the spotlight, Logan Browning steals it on many episodes. Both of the lead actresses in The Perfection do an amazing job bringing their talent and skill to the characters of Charlotte and Lizzie. They absolutely come to life and the audience feels something for both of them.
Where the film lacked a secure plot in some places it made up for with strong acting, beautiful locations, and solid cinematography. The score is great at times as well. What else would you expect when music prodigies with cellos in hand are on screen?
I found this film highly entertaining, although not super realistic as far as the plot goes. I enjoyed the fact that I didn’t always know what was coming next unlike many movies where there is no room for guessing. It was well done and thrilling.
The Perfection is definitely not for everyone. I would say it is worth watching once for most but if you’re sensitive to the topics of rape and self-harm you might want to skip this one.
The Perfection (2019) Official Trailer