Yorgos Lanthimos’ Bizarre Anthology Drama Challenges Us To Flee Desperation


  • Exceptional performances from Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, and Emma Stone elevate the dark themes of longing and obsession.
  • Yorgos Lanthimos divides the film into 3 segments to allow viewers to fully absorb the disturbing content.
  • Despite its length, Kinds of Kindness offers a unique and uncomfortable look at the pursuit of love and acceptance.

Yorgos Lanthimos’ Kinds of Kindness is a melting pot of anthology narratives that callously spotlight our desperation for affection and acceptance. Even from the film’s opening song, Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams,” prepares us for vivid and portentous examples of psychological ruin — all in the name of emotional and sexual dependence masking themselves as love. For his latest feature, Lanthimos reunites with longtime screenwriting partner, The Lobster and The Killing of a Sacred Deer co-writer Efthimis Filippou, to deliver a dark representation of the pursuit of kindness to win the affections of others.

Kinds of Kindness is a 2024 comedy-drama film by writer-director Yorgos Lanthimos. Split across segments, Kinds of Kindness tells the stories of a man trying to reclaim his destiny, a police officer whose wife returns after being lost at sea only to seem like a different person, and a woman tasked with finding a future spiritual leader.


  • Exceptional performances from Plemons, Dafoe, and Stone make Kinds of Kindess worth its runtime.
  • Lanthimos breaks his story into 3 parts, which enables viewers to digest the content better.
  • The script is sure of itself and knows exactly where it intends to take you.

  • The film is overly long considering it repeats its thematic discussions in 3 segments.

Kinds Of Kindness Brings Entertainment Despite Being Overly Long

While abandoning his commercial success with recent films like the four-time Academy Award winner Poor Things, Lanthimos returns to the pure, bizarre form found in his earlier work. Though it’ll likely divide audiences, Kinds of Kindness is sure of itself while holding up a distorting and disturbing mirror to its viewers. With it comes an audacious script hellbent on showcasing the dismay that comes with obsessively searching for something or anything that can resemble love. While it often delivers entertainment, it drags holistically and is best treated as an indulgence to watch great actors do bizarre things for 165 minutes.

Broken into three parts, the first story, “The Death of R.M.F.,” follows Robert Fletcher (Jesse Plemons) who follows every order given to him by his boss, Raymond (Willem Dafoe). When he’s asked to plan a car accident that would result in the death of a willing participant, Robert reaches his breaking point and folds under pressure. Why this guy needs to die is an explanation we never get. However, the real story lies in what happens when Robert obtains his freedom — it comes with intense loneliness, unhappiness, and financial despondency, leaving Robert pining for his previous lifestyle.

While it often delivers entertainment, it drags holistically and is best treated as an indulgence to watch great actors do bizarre things for 165 minutes.

The second story, “R.M.F. is Flying,” is all about Daniel, once again played by Plemons. Midway through this segment, you almost start to wonder if Robert and Daniel are actually the same man displaced in different timelines. When Daniel’s wife Liz (Emma Stone) suddenly goes missing and returns with a seemingly new personality and behavioral patterns, Daniel begins to test her loyalty by asking her to perform violent acts of service to prove her love. Of the three chapters, this one is the tidiest. Thematically, it paints a clear picture of abuse, which turns even the most kind into victims.

Kinds Of Kindness Doesn’t Have Anything New To Say

But Lanthimos still delivers a disconcerting film that fascinates at every turn

The final segment exemplifies a case of devout followers and the loss of self. Emily (Stone) is in pursuit of a woman she believes possesses a great power that could bring people back from the dead. Under the leadership of Omi (Dafoe), Aka (Hong Chau), and fellow cult member Andrew (Plemons), she’s instructed to identify this woman who could serve as a guide for its members. Things don’t go as planned, which Lanthimos masterfully shows in the outcome of this story. It’s dark, twisted, and demented. Whether we like it is far from Lanthimos’ intent or care.

A culmination of unsettling acts of desperation, body horror, and a humorous attack on acquiescence, Kinds of Kindness, despite overstaying its welcome, boasts an uncomfortable yet entertaining experience. Clocking in at nearly three hours, Lanthimos made the right decision by presenting his stories in segments, allowing us to reset and prepare for the next demented subset. The feature doesn’t say much beyond what we’ve seen in Lanthimos’ previous works, nor does Kinds of Kindness do it to a better degree. Yet, there’s a natural fascination I had with the film thanks to unnerving plots, an anxiety-inducing score, and phenomenal performances.

Kinds of Kindness premiered at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival.

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