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Netflix’s The Perfection – Review


Equally lazy as it is ridiculous, The Perfection becomes nonsensical in its second half, often reduced to unintentionally hilarious slashing, gore, and cheesy dialogue. It’s fun to watch at times, but in all the wrong ways.

About halfway through The Perfection, Charlotte Willmore, talented cellist and musician, tells her lover and younger cellist peer Lizzie that she has to cut her hand off. Sat in the wilderness somewhere in China, Lizzie is handed a meat cleaver. She severes her hand from her arm and screams.

This scenario sounds ridiculously gruesome and scary, right? Ordinarily it would be, if it were in any other film, but this is The Perfection. Thanks to some bizarre plot pacing and clumsy scriptwriting, this moment is so out-of-nowhere and unbelievable that it’s more just bizarre than traumatic.

Absurdity overshadowing intended horror is a prominent theme throughout this Netflix movie, which is plagued with sloppy character arcs and shoehorned feminist themes that do a disservice to their real-life inspirations. Only during the beginning moments of The Perfection can you take it seriously.

You may get some enjoyment out of this during a trashy movie night in, but for the most part this is a grating project with jarringly uneven pacing, one that uses the #MeToo movement half-heartedly for its own incentives.

What’s The Perfection about?

The plot seems relatively straightforward on face value. Two cello superstars in an elitist Boston musical school develop a personal and sexual relationship, one that’s quickly undone by an illness on a Chinese bus that leaves the younger student, Lizzie, without a hand.

As the film progresses we learn that this was no accident, and that the head teacher of the school has been leading a practice of abuse for decades. There are grim moments, bugs under skin, and quite a bit of vomiting. Nice.

You’ve most likely read other articles about how the film is making people ‘violently sick’. For the most part this seems like hyperbolic marketing on Netflix’s part to me. Sure, there are a couple of scenes and scenarios that’ll probably have you looking away or gawking a little, but really these are few and far between and nowhere near as gut-wrenchingly gross as you’d expect.

Throughout the story you’ll see frequent twists and turns, ones that seldom make sense, and leave the movie so implausible that it becomes almost satirical. During its third act, The Perfection feels like a pantomime, exaggerated and overblown to incredulous levels. The unconvincing nature of it all takes away from any horror elements the movie has to offer, and you’ll probably be laughing by the end rather than hiding behind the couch.

Half-heartedly using problematic topics for no due reason

All of the basic writing and odd storylines aside, some of the film’s representation of LGBTQ+ communities also seemed a little off to me. An explicit sex scene between both Charlotte and Lizzie for example was, in the grand scheme of the movie, unnecessary and excessive.

Often it felt as though the script writers only included sensitive subject matters for surface level appeal or plot, never really opening up any meaningful conversation surrounding them. Sexual assault, paedophilia, abuse, and masculine dominance are all included within The Perfection, but are always approached in a ham-fisted way that does little to explore them properly.

It’s hard to view a film with weight when it so blatantly uses real world issues for throwaway entertainment. It’s inconsiderate at worst and amateurish at best.

Final Thoughts

Despite my harsh criticisms, there is some enjoyment to be had with The Perfection. As long as you don’t take it all too seriously and accept that you’re probably not going to be scared or tense throughout nearly all of it, then I’m sure you can have a good time with friends.

It’s just a shame that a film that chooses to use loaded subject matter at its core does so in such an inept way. The Perfection is nearly always unconvincing, too oddly padded out, and too ridiculous to ever feel genuinely scary or well-done.

Here’s hoping Netflix packs more of a punch with its next horror effort.

out of 5

The Perfection is a choppy, bizarre mess of a film.

This is another miss for Netflix. The Perfection is too rushed and lazy to feel like a good quality product, and is unintentionally hilarious for all the wrong reasons.