Pearl Parent Guide
The movie's dark and disturbing subject matter is matched by its deeply disturbing violence and sexual content.
Parent Movie Review
Between the brutality of the Great War and the uncounted deaths caused by the Spanish Flu epidemic, 1918 has no shortage of troubles. The aftershocks reach all the way to rural Texas where Pearl (Mia Goth) lives on a farm with her stern German mother, Ruth (Tandi Wright), and her severely disabled father (Matthew Sunderland). Pearl’s husband, Howard (Allistair Sewell), had promised to spirit her away from the drudgery of farm life, but he’s long since marched off to war. Physical labor and caring for her father don’t provide the kind of glamour Pearl wants for her life – she dreams of being a dancing girl, like the ones in the motion pictures she sneaks off to see in town. Those dreams will have to stay dreams, though, unless she can find a way to break free of her parents’ expectations and her dreary little town. Pearl will stop at nothing to make her dreams come true…absolutely nothing.
In contrast to its dark and disturbing subject matter, the film’s aesthetic is far brighter. It borrows from the Technicolor films of the 1930’s and ‘40’s and seems to pay particular homage to The Wizard of Oz. The contrast is interesting and based on the strong lighting and attention to color values, I think the film would look pretty good if you shot it in a more period-appropriate black-and-white. It also lends a level of surrealism to the sex and violence, as films from the period tended to limit themselves more to flying monkeys than axe murder. Think Dorothy meets Lizzie Borden. There’s no crime like murder, there’s no crime like murder…
And there’s plenty of murder. Both matricide and patricide (a family-unfriendly combination if ever there was one), along with a few other homicides. Our heroine’s murderous predilections aren’t limited to humans, though, and she pitchforks a goose in the first ten minutes of the film and feeds it to an alligator. Charming young woman, really. Perhaps the bigger issue is the reel of vintage pornography that’s shown in the story, which unsurprisingly features some fairly graphic sex and full-frontal nudity. Of course, when Pearl isn’t busy murdering waterfowl or watching retro European skin flicks, she’s out dry humping scarecrows – probably scaring the birds far more effectively than the effigy ever would have.
It won’t surprise anyone when I say that Pearl doesn’t clear the bar as a family film. It’s a prequel to X, also released this year, which sees Pearl as an older woman gleefully slaughtering her way through the cast and crew of a (you guessed it) porn film that’s being shot on her farm. With that end goal in mind, I don’t think it’s particularly shocking that this installment isn’t chock-a-block with wholesome characters, laudatory behavior, or good old fashioned family values. Frankly, I’m surprised we the content concerns were no worse, all things considered. Not that that’s a recommendation, mind you.Directed by Ti West. Starring David Corenswet, Mia Goth, Tandi Wright. Running time: 102 minutes. Theatrical release September 16, 2022. Updated September 16, 2022
Rating & Content Info
Why is Pearl rated R? Pearl is rated R by the MPAA for some strong violence, gore, strong sexual content and graphic nudity.
Violence: Individuals are burned, strangled, stabbed, beaten, slapped, and brutally murdered with an axe. Decaying corpses are seen. A body is chopped up and fed to various animals.
Sexual Content: A film is played showing individuals having graphic sex with full frontal nudity. A fully clothed woman is seen humping a scarecrow. Characters are briefly seen from the shoulders up in the bath. There are references to adultery, which then occurs off-screen.
Profanity: There are infrequent uses of terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Adults are seen drinking and smoking tobacco. A woman is on one occasion seen drinking liquid morphine.
Page last updated September 16, 2022