'Kinds of Kindness' movie from Yorgos Lanthimos with Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe is creatively absurd

Lanthimos' latest film has its actors telling three distinct stories

After the Oscar-winning film Poor Things, filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos reunites with Emma Stone, Willem Dafoe and Margaret Qualley, adding Jesse Plemons and Joe Alwyn (from The Favorite) to the mix, in Kinds of Kindness. This new movie proves that Lanthimos continues to be one of the most unique and creative writers and directors around.

One thing we love about films from Lanthimos is that he's an expert in leaning into an appealing oddness and absurdity in stories. In Kinds of Kindness, Lanthimos uses repetition in a clever way, with the film evolving through three different narratives centred around the human desire for power, control and freedom.

Kinds of Kindness release date: June 28
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Emma Stone, Jesse Plemons, Willem Dafoe, Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn, Hong Chau, Mamoudou Athie
Writers: Yorgos Lanthimos, Efthimis Filippou
Runtime: 164 minutes

Emma Stone in Kinds of Kindness (Yorgos Lanthimos/Searchlight Pictures)
Emma Stone in Kinds of Kindness (Yorgos Lanthimos/Searchlight Pictures)

Kinds of Kindness in an anthology, featuring three distinct stories with the same actors.

In the first part Plemons plays Robert, a man whose life is entirely dictated by businessman Raymond (Dafoe), from how he dresses to what he drinks, and when he has sex with his wife, played by Hong Chau.

But one ask was too much for Robert to take. He was instructed to run into another vehicle at a specific time, at a specific location. When it doesn't work the first time, Raymond wants Robert to hit the car harder, killing the driver. Wanting to reject Raymond's request, Robert's entire life as he knows it starts to unravel.

Jesse Plemons in KINDS OF KINDNESS. (Atsushi Nishijima/ Searchlight Pictures)
Jesse Plemons in KINDS OF KINDNESS. (Atsushi Nishijima/ Searchlight Pictures)

In the second part of the film Plemons plays Daniel, whose wife Liz (Stone), a marine biologist, went missing during an expedition. When Liz is found and she returns home, Daniel feels like something is off, thinking that the woman who came to his home is actually an imposter.

To end the film, Dafoe and Chau are the leaders of a cult. Emily (Stone), is a woman in a high rank in the cult, but her ex-husband Joseph (Alwyn) doesn't particularly understand the cult's need for each member to have "pure" body fluids, tested by sweat. When Emily doesn't pass the purity test, she's excommunicated from the cult.

Joe Alwyn in KINDS OF KINDNESS. (Yorgos Lanthimos/Searchlight Pictures)
Joe Alwyn in KINDS OF KINDNESS. (Yorgos Lanthimos/Searchlight Pictures)

With a runtime that's nearing three hours, with three different narratives to explore, Kinds of Kindness is a lofty task for its filmmaker to craft. But really only Lanthimos could do so with such excitement for the audience.

Lanthimos is able to play that line where each part of the story feels new, but not entirely disjointed, in a really appealing and intriguing way to explore the relationships between different characters.

There's a lot of humour and wit throughout Kinds of Kindness, creating a particularly appealing contrast with the more dramatic moments of the film. It's a pairing that may seem obviously essential in a comprehensive movie, but Lanthimos' balance is particularly endeaing with big swings in tone that impressively land every time. Much of that is also assisted by the score of the film, led by the brilliant Jerskin Fendrix.

In terms of the actors, many are longtime collaborators with Lanthimos, which may have assisted in the execution of all these character with such detail. The story certainly allows us the time to really sit with each story in the film, and understand the different characters with powerful performances.

We'll admit, it does take a bit of time to really turn yourself over to Lanthimos' system of storytelling in Kinds of Kindness, but there's no doubt that when you're walking into a Lanthimos film, it won't be like anything you've seen before. While many other films leave us craving creativity.