jesse plemmons holding flowers
(Searchlight Pictures)

Yorgos Lanthimos Has Done It Again with ‘Kinds of Kindness’

4/5 stories.

What is better than one Yorgos Lanthimos story? Three all in one movie, with all the actors playing different roles in each of them! These performances color the nearly 3-hour runtime of Lanthimos’ new film, Kinds of Kindness, and each tells a different twisted story and keeps you engaged.

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The first story is titled “The Death of RMF” and has Willem Dafoe playing a controlling man who gets others to do his bidding. The second, “RMF Is Flying,” brings in the mysterious return of a wife who was reported missing and what happens to her when she’s back in society. Our final story was “RMF Eats a Sandwich” and takes us into the hold a cult can have on people.

Each of these stories is about control. The first, it is Raymond (Dafoe) and his ability to have these people do whatever he wants. When we get to the second story, the control is a little more complicated. Daniel (Jesse Plemmons) is controlled by what he is supposed to be doing to help his wife, Liz (Emma Stone), come back into their life. Even Liz’s father (Dafoe) is yelling at him about how he’s reacting. Those societal pressures are what keep him in line and not questioning anything.

In “RMF Eats a Sandwich,” it is the control of the cult that demands what Emily (Stone) and Andrew (Plemmons) do. When it clicks that control leads these stories, they become that much more interesting—at least, it helped me understand the anthology aspect of the film because each story is so different.

The Death of RMF

jesse plemmons lying on hong chau
(Searchlight Pictures)

Raymond’s requests for those he controls get weirder and weirder. Robert (Plemmons) is told that he has to hurt a man and himself in the process of a car crash and end up in the hospital. When he doesn’t succeed and doesn’t want to hurt the man, Raymond writes him off because he only wants people around him who do exactly what he says.

Robert slowly loses his mind without Raymond there, and seeing the what the lack of control does to him really sets the tone for the other stories we’re going to watch unfold.

RMF Is Flying

emma stone hugging jesse plemmons
(Searchlight Pictures)

So … Daniel thinks that his wife isn’t really his wife. This is probably the weirdest of the three stories. The first is easy to spot the control and what is going on. The third is a story we have heard before, and then there is this one. It’s just odd, but when you start to see how it’ll play out, it is kind of fun to watch.

Out of the three, this is the one that left me gasping and screaming in the theater. I think it just has that shock value to it, and I’ve not stopped thinking about elements of it since, which is seemingly what Lanthimos wanted as we head into his third story.

RMF Eats a Sandwich

Joe Alwyn and Emma Stone standing next to each other
(Searchlight Pictures)

Cults are terrifying because you can see the people that the members used to be before they were brainwashed by a vision and a false idol. Emily had a family, and she continued to go and try to see her daughter even though she left. But as the story goes on, we see how control bleeds into Emily’s life at every turn, and it is horrific to watch.

I simply think that this movie is one of the more out-there entries in Lanthimos’ filmography (which is saying something), but it is one that I cannot quite get over. I’ll be thinking about what each of these stories is telling audiences until the next Lanthimos movie, I think.

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.