Saved events

Love Lies Bleeding with Curator Sonia Zadurian

Love Lies Bleeding
29 Apr 2024

No pain, no gain in the pursuit of love

Our New Releases Curator Sonia Zadurian looks ahead to a film you must see on our big screen in May.

British writer/director Rose Glass burst onto the film scene with her critically acclaimed debut feature, Saint Maud. This psychological horror starred Morfydd Clark (The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power) as a caregiver living in Scarborough, with what could arguably be described as a somewhat distorted sense of reality. Glass’s second directorial outing, Love Lies Bleeding, relocates to sunny, rural New Mexico, but shares some common DNA with her first.

It’s 1989 in a small US town. Lou (Kristen Stewart) manages a gym by day and keeps to herself by night, with few connections outside of her beloved sister Beth (Jena Malone) and sleazy brother-in-law JJ (Dave Franco). That is until bodybuilder Jackie (Katy O’Brian) hitchhikes into town and the two strike up a relationship. As their fondness for one another grows, so too does Jackie’s abuse of anabolic steroids. When a serious crime is committed, things become complicated, and the old adage soon begins to ring true: you always hurt the ones you love.

From the outset, Glass sets about making one thing crystal clear; this is a gritty, resoundingly unglamourous film about pain. From loneliness, addiction and heartache to physical violence and domestic abuse, characters in this crime drama go through it all in the pursuit of love and happiness; a tragic irony encapsulated by that simple gym mantra ‘no pain, no gain’.

Composer Clint Mansell (Black Swan, High-Rise) creates a deeply absorbing, powerful and grimy score, dramatically contributing to a downright visceral viewing experience. You can practically smell the dirt and taste the sweat, as certain sounds are amplified and exaggerated to emphasise touch and the physical world.‌

It’s a wild ride of a film; a crime thriller that packs a serious punch. As our lovers fight to stay together and live happily ever after, it’s Glass’s characteristic flirtation with body horror that keeps things unpredictable. With Jackie’s increasing dependence on steroids warping her vision, we’re privy to a frightening and grotesque version of reality. Glass’s distinct directorial style is carried through by a stellar cast; Ed Harris is chilling as Lou Sr, Lou’s criminal father, and Malone is unrecognisable as Lou’s homely sister Beth. However, it’s Stewart and O’Brian’s film, with the latter in particular totally transformed and a captivating figure throughout.

Love Lies Bleeding

From 3 May, Cinema 1

Please consider donating

We rely on the money we raise through ticket sales, commercial activities and fundraising to deliver our arts and learning programme. It forms more than 60% of our income. Show your support by making a donation and help inspire more people to discover and love the arts.