Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon (2021)

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon
Director: Ana Lily Amirpour
Writer: Ana Lily Amirpour
Cast: Jeon Jong-seo, Evan Whitten, Kate Hudson, Ed Skrein, Craig Robinson
Part of: SLASH 1/2 Filmfestival
Seen on: 6.5.2022

Mona (Jeon Jong-seo) has been locked away in a psychiatric facility because she has special powers – she can control others with her mind. But now she is finally able to escape and makes her way to the next city, New Orleans. Unused to dealing with the world, she stands out. When she meets stripper Bonnie (Kate Hudson) and Bonnie realizes what she is capable of, she takes her under her wing and together, they start a more or less new life.

So far, I didn’t really like Amirpour’s movies, but I’m happy to say that I very much enjoyed Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon that is a film that is a) not as obsessed with style as her other features and b) doesn’t take itself all that seriously. That means, it’s a film that has room for heart – and that’s just what I like to see.

Mona Lisa (Jeon Jong-seo) pressing against the window of a diner.

Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon is an entertaining film that made it easy to root for Mona and her quest for freedom. Jeng-seo’s performance is understated, but no less emotional for it and gives the film most of its heart. To play her this quietly is an interesting choice, because it means that it risks getting lost in the flashier characters and casting around her, but it works out.

That being said, the supporting cast really is good. Hudson will probably be the biggest talking point because the role she plays is so atypical for her, but my personal favorite was Ed Skrein’s Fuzz who should be nothing but cringe but somehow ended up stealing my heart. Charlie (Evan Whitten) suffers a little from “writing children as small adults” syndrome, but overall, I liked his dynamic with Mona Lisa.

Bonnie (Kate Hudson) looking critically at Mona Lisa (Jeon Jong-seo).

Generally, the character dynamics were well-done. I liked how Mona relies on the help from others, but never sacrifices her autonomy for it. She fought to hard to get it to just make herself dependent on the next person.

Even though I said that the film isn’t all about style, it still has nice visuals, and really great locations, making good use of darkness and neon lights to creating a New Orleans where a fantastic fairy tale like this one feels right at home. And it’s a home that I enjoyed staying at.

Charlie (Evan Whitten) looking in awe at what Mona Lisa is able to do.

Summarizing: Very nice.

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