That was an awkward movie to watch with one of my friends who is a devout Christian
Don't you just hate that? You can be a devout Christian and still love cinema of all sorts. I know cuz I was, and I have similar friends that do.
I used to be a super devout one and loved cinema for sure. But after going through my own existential struggle, the film has serious parallels to my own identity crisis with religion and
putting the subtitles on made it worse ("CHRISTof"). My friend was visibly annoyed by the end because he thought it was saying humanity didn't need the idea of God.
Wasn't meant to be a backhanded insult toward devout religious folk at all. It was more on my end of not realizing those parallels until someone I watched it with was uncomfortable with the message of the film.
The short story this film is based on doesn't really make for a good basis of a film adaptation but good on the director for trying i guess.
It was super faithful to the short story and Armie Hammer and Zazie Beetz were good enough in their roles (also need a movie where they're a couple because they make a really good looking pair lol).
I'm a Dakota Johnson stan now after seeing Bad Times at the El Royale and Suspiria but man you could tell she was bored in this. Her acting wasn't bad but not great either. Luca Guadagnino said that for the CMBYN sequel he would like Johnson to play the wife of Hammer's character and I'd totally love to see that. I think they had chemistry in this film during the more intimate moments but it sucks that the film overall is bland.
I totally understand why this got bad reception at Sundance and why Annapurna decided to drop it on Hulu. More than being a bad film, it's just really boring and has none of the creepiness of the short story.
I honestly thought it wasn't that bad. It's a movie with a full-rounded idea that just comes out of the oven half-baked but not indigestible. I liked seeing Hammer play a slacker who's approach to day-to-day responsibilities is tested, and I thought Johnson suited the role of the girlfriend who can't seem to muster up any form of effort to keep a deteriorating relationship afloat. You can pinpoint those moments when she has more life in her, like when Hammer drives her to the campus, you can see more energy because that's probably where she wanted to be at that moment. I enjoyed watching Hammer's descent into madness, but the payoff didn't have steam to power into the station in a satisfying way; it was just too ambiguous for my taste.