The First Reviews Of ‘Kinds Of Kindness’ Call It A Prickly But ‘Compelling’ Follow-Up To ‘Poor Things’ From Yorgos Lanthimos

Yorgos Lanthimos is wasting no time after the glowing success of last year’s Poor Things. The director and Emma Stone are already out there promoting their next movie, a dark comedy called Kinds of Kindness, which just had its debut at the Cannes Film Festival.

The movie, co-written by Lanthimos and Efthimis Filippou, is split into three seemingly unrelated segments that explore the fun varieties of Kindness. It features an all-star cast of Stone, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Plemons, Margaret Qualley, Hong Chau, and Hunter Schafer.

Here is the official synopsis: “Kinds of Kindness is a triptych fable, following a man without choice who tries to take control of his own life; a policeman who is alarmed that his wife who was missing-at-sea has returned and seems a different person; and a woman determined to find a specific someone with a special ability, who is destined to become a prodigious spiritual leader.”

While Kinds of Kindness won’t hit theaters until June 21, the first reviews have been dropping, and it seems like we’ve got another weird and slightly off-putting Lanthimos classic on our hands. Here’s what critics are saying:

David Ehrlich of IndieWire:

Shot “on a budget” during the long post-production process for Lanthimos’ extravagant, Oscar-winning Poor Things, the happily inhospitable Kinds of Kindness can’t help but feel like an allergic reaction to the mainstream success he’s enjoyed — or at least capitalized upon — since pivoting from Greek to English with The Lobster in 2015. Always interesting, seldom enjoyable, and somehow both smothered and excessive at the same time (and at all times), this nearly three-hour bonfire of Searchlight Pictures’ annual budget is a towering monument to human love that betrays almost zero interest in actually being liked.

David Rooney for The Hollywood Reporter:

Kinds of Kindness will likely be something of an acquired taste, but at the very least it’s a movie that keeps you wondering where it’s going next. A debt to Luis Buñuel notwithstanding, Lanthimos is his own breed of storyteller, and that alone makes his work something to be savored.

Peter Debruge for Variety:

The less you know, the more effective Kinds of Kindness is likely to be — though you’ll no doubt want to discuss or deconstruct the film after the fact. It’s a quizzical concoction bound to baffle and delight in equal measure, structured so it feels like binge-watching three episodes of a nihilist Twilight Zone knock-off, when an interwoven ensemble approach (à la Magnolia) might have better supported connection-making between chapters. In any case, Lanthimos trades in discomfort, trusting his audience enough to take his brand of provocation as they please.

Stephany Bunbury for Deadline:

Kinds of Kindness is about a ubiquitous interdependence between ruthless power and willing submission that crops up everywhere, which implies that we are all in its thrall. That makes it their gloomiest film yet. Of course, it is also very funny.

Gergory Ellwood for The Playlist:

Kinds stands as another compelling work from an auteur willing to push buttons and make daring choices. And, yes, there are hints of the whimsical and comedic tone of The Favourite or Poor Things in Lanthimios’ latest effort, but for the most part, Kinds is a surreal tale on the fringes of conventional reality. A deceptively dense piece of work filled with moments that articulate the complexity of the human condition. You may laugh here or there, but you’ll be thinking more about the choices these characters take and the inherent pain they endure much longer than Stone’s celebratory dancing in a parking lot. Not that we’ll ever complain about dancing or dogs in a Lanthimos movie.

David Jenkins for Little White Lies:

Stone delivered an all-timer performance in Poor Things, and she continues down the path of becoming an actor of rare fearlessness and charisma with this one. Plemons recalibrates the deadpan drawl that has supercharged such mid-tier comic works as Game Night and makes a smooth entry into Lanthimos’ world. Willem Dafoe is Willem Dafoe, one of the most reliable actors in the game, while Margaret Qualley, Joe Alwyn, Hong Chau and Mamoudou Athie round things out perfectly.

Bilge Ebiri for Vulture:

Lanthimos’s unwavering, matter-of-fact style embodies the unquestioning nature of his characters. And while the internal logic of his controlled worlds feels ironclad, it never really is. The filmmaker’s precision is a ruse, a magic trick designed to make us think one thing while quietly building a case for its opposite: the reality that none of this makes any sense. At the end of these stories, we have to face the fact that nobody really knows anything, least of all the all-powerful director, who could of course be called the Creator as well. For all his authority, god, in Kinds of Kindness, is more fallible and lost than all of us.

Kinds of Kindness opens in select theaters on June 21.