Emma Stone enjoys herself at the “Kinds of Kindness” Cannes premiere party (Photo Credit: Giulia Parmigiani/Searchlight Pictures).

(“Kinds of Kindness” trailer courtesy of Searchlight Pictures)

Full disclosure.

I chose to review “Kinds of Kindness” instead of watching game five of the NBA Finals.

Although, I did not miss much by bypassing on the series clinching Boston Celtics win, I am left pondering WTH (what the heck) was I thinking by subjecting myself to two hours and 45 minutes of the madness that is “Kind of Kindness.”

And although movie critics are taught to not be too harsh in their assessment of films, “Kinds of Kindness” consists of three acts like a play.

And those acts should be titled, weird, weirder and weirdest.

In its defense, “Kinds of Kindness” is like nothing that I have seen before.

Each act consists of the same actors.

However, they play different characters in each act.

And each act, the storyline is different than the others.

Ultimately, the themes of each act of “Kinds of Kindness” are control and power.

Unfortunately, “Kinds of Kindness” left me searching for the overall moral of the story.

And as far as that is concerned, I am still utterly confused because I did not see one.

In the first act of “Kinds of Kindness,” Richard (Willem Dafoe) is the prototypical controlling boss.

He not only micromanages his employees on the job.

But he wants to control their personal lives as well.

He wants to tell people who to marry.

Richard wants to tell his employees whether they can have kids or not.

He tells them what books to read.

The domineering boss wants his employees to put their health on the line for him.

And he even wants to have his way in the bedroom with his employees.

Unfortunately, if an employee tries to buck the system, Richard has a way of using the system to bring catastrophe to their world.

And the only way to get back the life that they once enjoyed, Richard’s employees must come back into the fold and under his control once again.

In the second act, Jesse Plemons’ character is suffering emotionally and mentally because his beloved wife is missing.

It has even gotten so bad that the police officer is starting to see his wife’s physical traits in the criminals that he apprehends even though they often look nothing alike.

And as a police officer, he knows that missing persons cases sometimes have happy endings.

Therefore, he has not lost hope even though the chance of a reunion looks slim.

Unfortunately, when his wife Emily returns home there is something different about her.

She does not remember her husband’s favorite song.

The cat snarls at her and that is something he never did before.

And for some strange reason, her shoes no longer fit.

Well, maybe that is not so strange because she might have experienced some swelling living in the wild while she was missing.

Regardless, she is back home and that cannot be said about some of her colleagues that did not make it back home.

But when her husband starts making outrageous demands of Emily and she complies without debate, something is totally amiss.

In the third act, things reach their peak of weirdness and bizarreness.

Plemons and Stone’s character are searching for someone, and it is not just anyone.

The person that they are looking for has power over the dead.

Stone’s character even sees visions of who the young woman is in her dreams.

Therefore, she is determined to find this lady and bring her powers back to a sex cult that she has gotten herself involved with.

But when she finds herself contaminated and on the outs with the cult, finding the young woman might not be enough to get her back in good graces.

In defense of “Kinds of Kindness,” few will be able to say that Yorgos Lanthimos does not take chances.

No one will be able to honestly say that his work is not original.

Hollywood has a problem with being repetitive.

That is why there are so many sequels and movie adaptations of television shows, etc.

In that regard, eccentricity can be a good thing.

But there is such a thing as being too weird or being weird just for the heck of it.

“Kinds of Kindness” is just weird for no apparent rhyme or reason.

Luckily, “Kinds of Kindness” has some of the best actors in the business.

The fact that the film has Plemons, Stone and Dafoe will be enough to get some people to the theaters.

In fact, that is what got me to the movies instead of chillin’ at home watching Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum do their thing against Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving.

Since Plemons’ days on the television show “Friday Night Lights,” I have been a fan.

His supporters will not be disappointed in his performance because he has never really given a bad performance.

Therefore, shoutout to him for taking a role that no one can label predictable or ordinary.

Likewise, no one will be able to say anything bad about Stone’s performance.

She is one of the greats in the game.

Furthermore, Dafoe is an acting O.G.

And although Lanthimos is a great in the game of filmmaking, he takes his weirdness to new levels with this one.

And unfortunately, people’s time will be better served staying at home and watching the sports that we have left like baseball, track and field, swimming and maybe even rugby because “Kinds of Kindness” ain’t it.







Todd A. Smith
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