Filmmaker Ti West returns with another chapter from the twisted world of X in this astonishing follow-up to the year’s most acclaimed horror film. Trapped on her family’s isolated farm, Pearl must tend to her ailing father under the bitter and overbearing watch of her devout mother. Lusting for a glamorous life like she’s seen in the movies, Pearl’s ambitions, temptations, and repressions all collide in the stunning, Technicolor-inspired origin story of X’s iconic villain.
What We Thought:
Mia Goth gives one of the year’s top performances in Pearl. She has a monologue in it that should be taught in acting classes because it is absolutely fantastic. Although I thought X was the better film, Goth is somehow even better in this, X’s prequel.
If you haven’t seen X which came out earlier in the year go and watch it now. It’s worth the watch and although you don’t have to have seen it to understand Pearl, having seen it does make Pearl better. You pick up certain Easter eggs and at least know of the Pearl character. They make for a good doubleheader and I can’t wait for the third film in Ti West’s trilogy.
If you have seen X, Pearl is the origin story of X’s villain. It takes place decades earlier and is like a demented The Wizard of Oz. It captures that time period brilliantly and is a throwback to that era of Hollywood. The costuming is top-notch, the score works, everything about it in that era works.
But you watch the film for Mia Goth. You know at some point she will become unhinged so you sit there waiting for that. X took a bit to get going and Pearl takes even longer, but once it does it’s so good. Goth slowly loses it and delivers a monologue that will have people talking for years. Because X was more of a slasher I expected this to be similar, but it’s more of a slow burn and psychological thriller than horror flick to me.
Ti West’s latest film has a ton of Old Hollywood style with great backdrops, a great setting and costume design including masks because it takes place during the era of a pandemic. Goth handles these crazy characters with ease and you sit there watching her slowly fall apart. If you enjoyed X then I highly recommend seeing Pearl. If you haven’t seen X and like older movies or that style of movie you’ll enjoy it too.