‘Love Lies Bleeding’ Delivers a Beautiful Love Story Rubbed within the Dirt


Kristen Stewart and Katy O’Brian may have you cheering for true romance.

Love Lies Bleeding
By  · Published on March fifteenth, 2024

Hollywood rom-coms may need you considering in any other case, however each love story is exclusive in its personal means. From the way in which two souls come collectively to the diploma of adversity they face alongside the way in which, love is a bitch that almost all of us simply can’t dwell with out. That drive is why most motion pictures on the topic give their characters a minimal uphill battle at the least, and it’s why the higher ones sometimes make that molehill a mountain in disguise. Rose Glass‘ feature debut, Saint Maud (2019), featured a character madly in unreciprocated love (unreciprocated because god ain’t returning her affections), however she’s doubled the depth for her follow-up. Love Lies Bleeding brings collectively two younger ladies unfortunate in life however extra decided than ever to be fortunate in love.

Lou (Kristen Stewart) manages a hole-in-the-wall gymnasium full of meatheads, large hair, and sweat, and whereas at some point drips into the subsequent, that modifications when she sees a brand new gymnasium rat flex her means into her coronary heart. Jackie (Katy O’Brian) is new to city, a bodybuilder seeking to get swole for a number of weeks earlier than heading to a contest in Las Vegas she desperately must win. The two hit it off instantly regardless of the restricted world views of a small, seedy city within the late 80s, nevertheless it’s not lengthy earlier than the previous slithers its means between them and rears its ugly head. Lou’s household historical past is riddled with violence, and I’m not simply referring to the factor her father, Lou Sr. (Ed Harris), calls a haircut.

We all battle for those we love, a few of us simply do it in sweatier, bloodier, extra painful methods. Glass’ sophomore characteristic is that love story rubbed within the grime, a story of two misplaced souls struggling to dig their means out of bother and into one another’s hearts. Pulpy, messy, candy, Love Lies Bleeding is a whole lot of grisly enjoyable and arguably as shut as this technology has gotten to their very own True Romance (1993). Blood is spilled, faces are smashed, steroids are injected, and crimes are dedicated, however the not a rattling factor goes to face in the way in which of those two. Well, till it does, and sure, I’m you Dave Franco.

Glass’ script, co-written with Weronika Tofilska, establishes the intimacy and juiced up love shared between Lou and Jackie early on earlier than shifting gears with sudden acts of violence. The components at play, beginning with and centered nearly solely round Lou Sr., are acquainted sufficient to followers of style cinema to the purpose that you already know he’s bother the second he enters the body. (Harris’ haircut can also be a tip-off.) The lack of basic shock isn’t a destructive, although, because it’s the specifics that carry the movie by way of its bloody beats with a mixture of shock and darkish humor. That’s to not suggest Love Lies Bleeding is a comedy in any means, however Glass is aware of it is a story that works finest with a slight tweak to the darkness, and he or she executes it superbly.

Cinematographer Ben Fordesman‘s camera catches the intimacy and the gore with equal weight while still making sure to see the grim humor and wry smile cracking the corner of Lou’s mouth. The filmmakers have created a world that feels grounded to a point whereas notes of pulp and noir sing on the edges. Cigarettes are horrible for you and everybody you already know, however the smoke — which is all over the place right here as almost everybody has a stick between their fingers or lips — appears completely gorgeous in opposition to gentle and pores and skin because it wisps away from mouths hungry for one thing much more satisfying. Clint Mansell‘s score finds a similar balance between the affecting and the funky, and the sound department shines every time Jackie flexes her muscles and we hear them pop.

Stewart knows this character is fucked up, but she’s simply as certain that doesn’t imply a cheerful ending is off the desk regardless of the bloody carnage of all of it. She’s unsurprisingly terrific as a younger girl strolling a effective line between tender and hard. O’Brian, in the meantime, is a real discover exuding a bubbly heat and a determined willpower as two sides of the identical coin. And sure, Harris remains to be the scariest previous man you’ll ever see on the massive display.

Love Lies Bleeding will undoubtedly lose the squares with a few of its graphic interactions between Lou and Jackie, however that’s their loss. Those that do squirm their means by way of the sweaty sexiness of all of it, although, would possibly simply toss their palms within the air on the movie’s ultimate minutes. This is a film for the weirdos, those left and proper of middle, and it follows that be aware by way of to the tip. Glass and the movie are asking a whole lot of viewers in these ultimate scenes, however all the things that got here earlier than then makes it really feel earned in the absolute best means. This is a love story, and typically love is greater than we’re anticipating.

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Rob Hunter has been writing for Film School Rejects since earlier than you had been born, which is bizarre seeing as he is so rattling younger. He’s our Chief Film Critic and Associate Editor and lists ‘Broadcast News’ as his favourite movie of all time. Feel free to say hello if you happen to see him on Twitter @FakeRobHunter.