Ti West’s newest addition to his X trilogy, Pearl, is a must-watch!
A prequel to X, the film follows X‘s killer, Pearl, as a young woman in 1918. Pearl (Mia Goth) cares for her ailing father (Matthew Sunderland) under the eye of her overbearing mother, Ruth (Tandi Wright). We see Pearl fantasize about being a dancer and her dream to leave her family’s isolated farm behind. In her journey to follow her dreams a nightmare ensues for everyone around her.
You Can’t Help but Feel for Pearl
From the beginning of the film, viewers are made aware of just how unhinged Pearl truly is. Throughout the film she cracks more and more, until she finally succumbs to her temptations. The descent into madness also makes her story much more tragic.
Despite Pearl’s cruelty and deviousness, you can’t help but empathize for her as you encounter the pressures she faces as a caretaker and the criticism she faces from her mother. Everyone can relate to the desire of wanting something more for their lives…Pearl just so happens to take it overboard.
The film really highlighted Goth’s amazing range as an actress. There is a monologue in the film where she is speaking to her sister-in-law, Mitzy (Emma Jenkins-Purro). In the scene, she is pretending that she is speaking to her husband, Howard (Alistair Sewell). Pearl acknowledges her faults, which makes the film even creepier. A monologue that should not be overlooked when award season comes around!
Although Goth definitely shines in the film, every actor did a phenomenal job. Wright in particular brought a lot of sadness and rage to her role as Pearl’s mother, Ruth. Sunderland, despite not having any lines, portrayed a lot simply through his eyes; throughout the film you could tell how terrified he was becoming of Pearl.
Much like X was inspired by 70s style horror films, which affected the film visually and conceptually, Pearl is very much inspired by films of the early to mid-20th century. However, the films had very different feels through the use of color. The bright color palette contrasted with the Pearl’s dark and twisted nature. West’s direction very much reflected Pearl’s mental state. If Ti West X was an homage to the exploitation of the 70’s era, then Pearl is a tribute to the golden era of technicolor Hollywood.
The pacing worked perfectly with the film’s time period and farm-setting. Moving along slowly and quietly, with sudden bursts that coincided with Pearl’s psyche. However, it can also leave the film feeling slow towards the beginning. Pearl definitely picks up halfway and when it gets going it doesn’t let you go as you descend into madness alongside Pearl.
Overall, Pearl is definitely a great movie to follow up on X and with its beautiful palette, amazing acting, and incredible score it might just succeed it. There is still one more movie in Ti West’s and Mia Goth’s trilogy, Maxxxine. It is slated to come out soon, so you have time to catch up. We recommend seeing this one in the theater because Pearl is star!
Pearl releases September 16, 2022.