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‘Love Lies Bleeding’ is a headache-inducing film

Graphic by Audrey Garcia

Following her award-winning directorial debut, Rose Glass has returned with her sophomore film “Love Lies Bleeding.” 

Produced by A24, the indie movie studio behind “Everything Everywhere All At Once” and “Midsommar,” among others, this new motion picture had audiences on the edge of their seats awaiting its release on March 8. Now that it’s here, viewers are eager to leave their seats in the theaters. 

If nothing else, the premise of the story is fantastic. The film follows gym manager Lou (Kristen Stewart) and aspiring bodybuilder Jackie (Katy O’Brien). Together, the two fall hard for each other and plan a long adventurous life, until Jackie commits a violent murder. 

With no other choice but to protect Jackie, the couple dispose of the body in a questionable ravine. The plot thickens when it is revealed that Lou’s father is an international arms dealer who ties up loose ends by dumping victims’ bodies in the same ominous location. 

The remainder of this thriller examines how the couple evade both law enforcement and Lou’s psychopathic father. 

However, with a run-time of just 104 minutes, this flick inevitably suffers from a lack of plot development. While the pace feels perfect for a two-hour showing, it feels like Glass scrambled to wrap up at the end, leaving no time for a meaningful resolution to the problems she initially introduced. 

For example, the audience never really learns about Jackie’s past before Lou. Outside of a 20-second phone call with her mother, who refers to her as a monster, the audience knows next to nothing about Jackie’s background. All we know is that she keeps killing people and has an unwavering desire to get stronger. 

The final 10 minutes of “Love Lies Bleeding” feel confusing and one-dimensional. As depicted in the trailer, what started as a romance thriller ends up incorporating supernatural elements that blindside the audience. 

In essence, the entire film relies on humanistic worldly problems that prove irresolvable to average people. But rather than create an intricate solution to the problems Lou and Jackie face, “Love Lies Bleeding” becomes a fantasy flick in the blink of an eye. Ultimately, Glass leaves a bunch of plot holes left unanswered that make her metaphorical symbolism feel a lot like lazy writing.  

Luckily, the film carries some redeeming qualities. The cast is impeccable, Stewart delivers a magnetic performance as a social outcast hopelessly in love. The cinematography was eye-catching and without a doubt will intrigue anyone who watches it. Jackie’s murder scenes are beautifully crafted and evoke a visceral response from moviegoers. 

Ultimately, the movie is an okay watch if you’re entering with low expectations. If you’re someone who cares little for plot holes and would rather embrace the ambiguity of the plot, this film is definitely worth watching. But for others, including myself, “Love Lies Bleeding” will remain a fever dream.

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