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25th March 2024

Love Lies Bleeding review: “Don’t ever fall in love, okay?” | MFF 2024

Rose Glass proves falling in love is no easy feat in her vicious, sapphic crime thriller.
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Love Lies Bleeding review: “Don’t ever fall in love, okay?” | MFF 2024
Credit: Love Lies Bleeding @ A24

Love Lies Bleeding is director Rose Glass’ latest: a feisty rollercoaster ride from start to finish, rarely missing a beat with two fantastic leads in the front seats.

Lou (Kristen Stewart), a gym manager, meets Jackie (Katy O’Brian), a bodybuilder who trains at Lou’s gym in the hopes of making it big at a Las Vegas bodybuilding competition. Things start to spiral out of control once Lou and Jackie become romantically involved, as Jackie is drawn into Lou’s family of crime.

Glass, following her debut film Saint Maud, brings another A24 film where she (partly) returns to her horror roots as she delivers some scenes of chilling body horror (which elicited plenty of gasps in my screening!) whilst also adding another film to the ‘Be Gay, Do Crime’ collection.

Here, Glass builds on the success of Saint Maud, creating a film that feels larger in scope and one that truly shows off her skills in directing. Whilst, admittedly, some of the subtlety of Saint Maud left much to be desired, Love Lies Bleeding does exactly what it says on the tin, showing the passion, blood, and guts in all its glory and, above all, unapologetically. This is not to say that the film is devoid of any substance; the style is undeniably something to marvel at and where Glass lacks in areas of her script, she largely makes up for in her impressive directing.

The performances, for the most part, are excellent. This is Stewart’s and O’Brian’s film through and through; the chemistry between them both is electric, and their emotions feel raw and palpable. Ed Harris and Anna Baryshnikov also stand out. The former has a menacing presence that lingers like a ghost, and the latter gives a darkly comic edge to the film that left some of my audience squirming in their seats.

Unfortunately, much like the rollercoaster ride of a journey the film takes you on, the third act is somewhat up and down. There are moments of brilliance, but viewers may be divided on some stylistic choices, and the film ultimately runs out of gas (pun intended). Perhaps viewers will see potential symbolism in this loss of control, just as Lou and Jackie start to lose control of their situation.

Nevertheless, Love Lies Bleeding certainly leaves you wanting to stay in this world a little longer. Glass proves herself to be a filmmaker you should definitely keep an eye on, making the trip to the cinema well worth it if you are at all interested in the premise.

4/5

Love Lies Bleeding screened as part of Manchester Film Festival 2024 and is scheduled to hit UK cinemas on May 3

Words by Hayden Smith


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