4.5/10 “The Kitchen”, not to be confused with where sexist men tell their girlfriends and wives that they belong, is the directorial debut of Andrea Berloff, whom has written and co-written a few projects. She proves to be a more talented writer than she is a director if this debut is to be any evidence. The concept might have been better if this movie didn’t come out so close to last year’s superior movie, “Widows”, which felt a lot more real than this does. Now there are some aspects of this movie to be admired. The acting is overall fine and the costume design and production design do a fantastic job of recreating this movie’s time period. The plot is overall not too predictable (even if one individual moment involving a character death is). The movie mostly entertains and embraces its R rating, which I appreciated. The flaws this movie has are never egregious or insulting, they usually fall upon the more minor side. As for those negatives, pacing is probably the movie’s biggest weakness. The movie starts way too fast and jumps in so quickly that we are already watching a montage about 20 minutes into the movie, way before we have even gotten to know our three female leads. The opposite problem comes near the end of the movie as things start to drag and we get a little bored. Splitting the movie up better in terms of events and fixing pacing issues would have greatly helped this movie. Other problems include not believing some of the character developments. Elisabeth Moss’s character has a rather unbelievably quick transition from scared victim to violent badass. Tiffany Haddish’s character becomes unlikable for no apparent reason, which seemed out of character. If the money and power changed her character, the movie didn’t do a good enough job of communicating those being the reasons for her turn. The soundtrack was too on the nose for me. This movie is written by, directed by and starring women, which is great to see since it doesn’t happen all that often. But Berloff gets too heavy handed by making the soundtrack 99% songs from female musicians, bands and singers with the only exception being “Carry On My Wayward Son” by Kansas. It felt like all of the female lead songs were more too add to the female influence of the movie and less about which songs actually fit the movie. Overall, this is a forgettable movie that is a slight change of pace but that won’t impress you in any way by the end. Berloff has shown promise as a writer but has to learn a thing or two about directing and pacing if she wants to join the likes of Sofia Coppola and Kathryn Bigelow.
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