CONTENT WARNING: A WHOLE LOT OF PHYSICAL ABUSE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT
I try to be a decent person; at least, in regards to this blog. Sure, I fuckin’ swear sometimes, but I try to provide content warnings where applicable. And dear reader, I gotta warn you about this movie: there’s body horror on screen, several allusions and threats about sexual assault, and both of those are tied enough to the plot that I’m going to talk about them. I enjoyed the movie enough to give it a thumbs up, but no one’s gonna judge if you decide to skip this one.
Still with me? Okay, let’s talk about The Perfection.
We open with our first protagonist, Charlotte, numb after her mother has just died. Like, Mom’s corpse is still staring at her. Free from years of hospice care she contacts Anton, her old violin instructor (played by Mr. Stephen Weber). She meets up with him in China and meets our second protagonist, Lizzie, their new star pupil. Charlotte and Lizzie instantly bond, leading to a night of passion. The next day the two go on a road trip, but Lizzie becomes dangerously sick, seeing bugs in her vomit and inside her arm. That’s when the ever helpful Charlotte pulls out a meat cleaver and gives it to Lizzie. A rewind later and we find out Charlotte’s a monster and has been planning this since they met! Weeks later, Lizzie–minus a hand–returns to Anton, but he turns her away since she can no longer play. Lizzie hunts down Charlotte, kidnaps her, and brings her back to Anton. Turns out Anton’s a monster! He’s a serial sexual abuser/pedophile and Charlotte eventually was glad to be away from him. Anton tells his mooks to warm Charlotte up–“Come get me when she stops biting,” is the actual line delivered with an aloofness that makes it fucking terrifying–and Lizzie wants to join in. But before anything can happen, the mooks fall dead. They were poisoned by Lizzie! Another rewind shows that Charlotte did the whole “drug you and get you to cut off your own hand” thing to force Lizzie away from Anton, saying that she would always be there for Lizzie. The kidnapping was part of the revenge ploy! The girls attack Anton, but Charlotte’s arm is grievously wounded in the process. The movie ends with Anton armless, legless, and with his eyes and mouth sewn shut, trapped in his basement, while Charlotte and Lizzie–missing opposing hands–playing violin together in front of him spitefully.
This movie was… oof. It’s a lot. Sadly the Netflix trailer I watched showed Charlotte pulling out the cleaver, so the twist that happens at the halfway point was ruined. But the movie went way crazier than I had at first anticipated. What is it with professional art instructors being horrible people? I was reminded of Black Swan, Whiplash, and my own reasons for quitting band forever (thankfully no sexual assault was involved personally, although at the time the assistant band teacher was fucking a student [he served a shamefully short jail sentence after pleading guilty to lower charges]). And while I liked Charlotte and Lizzie getting together, they’re not good people. Bad things have happened to them, sure, but not all sexual abuse survivors decide to reenact the ending to Feed. I give it a tentative thumbs up, but feel like Netflix could’ve included a couple more content warnings other than “TV-MA: nudity, language.”
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