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  • Writer's pictureAidan Fronza

Love Lies Bleeding (2024)

As its title suggests, Rose Glass' Love Lies Bleeding features steamy love, criminal lies, and gory bleeding. With standout performances from Kristen Stewart and Katy O'Brian as Lou and Jackie, the gym manager meets gym rat power couple (both with murderous tendencies) have fun, more fun, and have a little too much fun when Jackie gets gets carried away punishing Lou's wife-beater bother-in-law when he hits her sister for the last time. Let me tell you, my audience (a handful of mostly senior citizens) were shocked to say the least.

I do not know how to say this, but given that this was an overwhelmingly queer film, it is only fair to begin with the most notable of my fellow attendees. Such were the two older women sitting in front of me. I cannot and will not label their relationship. However, based on their reactions of "you can say that again" to the frustrations of LGBTQ+ women in the Last Call at Maud's trailer (an award-winning documentary about the world famous lesbian bar)... Well, you understand. Nevertheless, I can only imagine the feeling of seeing something once isolating on the silver screen. More importantly, it warms my heart to see those older experience groundbreaking new stories (graphic as they may be). I can only hope that that these two women, and many others, saw themselves in this film and/or relished in seeing Lou and Jackie, to put it simply, "be gay and do crime."

For me (and my desensitized self), I enjoyed Glass' 104 minutes of glorified sex, violence, and everything in between. More times than I could count, my jaw physically dropped (and literally so did Dave Franco's, but you will have to find out how yourself by watching). Like almost everyone else, I loved the performances from Stewart and O'Brian. I hate to bring it up, but Stewart, of Twighlight fame, gives an almost unrecognizably ferocious performance as Lou, a messed-up of a human taking care of her Stockholm Syndrome sister and her clueless little kids. That being said, Stewart did this three years ago with her painstakingly subtle performance as everyone's favorite Princess Diana in Spencer, which earned her an academy award nomination. As such, can I really be surprised that Stewart manages to put so much life into such a flawed character?

Thus, it is with absolute respect that I say Katy O'Brian's performance as the ambitious, desperate, loving, roid-junkie bodybuilder Jackie is my main takeaway from this film. So much can be said about Glass' in-your-face crime thriller (with moments that will truly make you feel like clenching your cheeks), but what I really want to talk about is O'Brian. As I am sure was intended, O'Brian completely steals every scene she is in. With her bulging biceps, charisma, and million-dollar smile, she is magnetic. Not only that, but she is an emotional chameleon. Mastering rage, jealousy, despair, triumph. You name it, she shows it. And you feel it too. Honestly, there's not much more I can say. Only, you should want to be able to say you witnessed the blossoms of a one-of-kind star like O'Brian before she becomes the next big thing in Hollywood. And yet, it might already be too late. Tom Cruise supposedly loved O'Brian so much he cast her in Mission: Impossible 8. Rebecca Ferguson, Léa Seydoux, Vanessa Kirby, Hayley Atwell, and now O'Brian. Dude loves women with a stage presence. So look for O'Brian early next year when M:I 8 is (hopefully) released. And ahead. I can say with confidence, she is not stopping there.

I would go into more detail about the rest of the cast, my interpretations, etc. However, I spare you the details. Such is so unbelievable at times, it can be hard to discuss. This is an insane film. And if you have not reached that conclusion by now, I am either a terrible reviewer (likely) and/or you need to watch Love Lies Bleeding now. And while both may be true, I think the latter is a given.

But beware.

It is without saying. You will be uncomfortable. You will squirm in your seat. You will be slightly embarrassed by an audience the same age as your grandparents (if you are like me). But most of all. You will have a good time. So just have fun and be respectful. Is not that what the movies are truly for?

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