Perfect

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Perfect Movie Poster Image
Pretentious sci-fi horror tale has cursing, blood, nudity.
  • NR
  • 2019
  • 87 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Living within a universe of weird and disturbing visions is better than killing people uncontrollably. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

The patient is a murderer unable to control his urges to harm others and himself.

Violence

A woman is seen dead and bloodied in a young man's bed. Another is burned alive. A tribal forest leader throws a woman off a high structure; the rest of the tribe attacks her. A man/animal is seen devouring a newborn baby (in black-and-white). Close-ups on the mouth of the eater show an eyeball and severed limb being chewed. Treatment at clinic consists of patients cutting chunks of their flesh out, replacing those chunks with hunks of translucent plastic, which immediately reprograms them. People seem to peel off their own skin.

Sex

A bare-chested man wears a fake pair of large women's breasts and fondles them while displaying an agonized grimace. Bare breasts and buttocks are seen.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "damn," and "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The film is shot as if to suggest disturbing images that could accompany a bad experience on psychedelic drugs.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Perfect seems intent on creating a psychedelic experience against the backdrop of a sci-fi horror story. Troubled people of the future attend rehab where they are instructed to cut slices out of their own bodies and replace the flesh with reprogramming inserts for better lives. Murder, blood, nudity, and cannibalism make appearances. A man/animal devours a newborn baby; we see an eyeball and severed limb being chewed. Language includes "f--k," "s--t," "damn," and "hell."

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What's the story?

In PERFECT, a youth (Garrett Wareing) only identified as Patient 13-something is sent to a clinic for reprogramming after bloodily murdering his nude girlfriend in bed. His mother (Abbie Cornish), who looks like a vaping party girl, delivers him there in a stretch limo, letting him know that in her youth, she, too, was treated there. He enters the spa/clinic, which is laid out to resemble a spread in a high-end shelter magazine. He, gaunt and pretty, looks like the model hired to lounge on the furniture, which he does for some time before finally agreeing to treatment. Disturbing flashbacks/visions plague him, including images of human sacrifice, cannibalism, and a woman being burned alive. No one in charge of the clinic comes to greet him. Instead, he literally talks to the wall to get his treatment, a voice (Tao Okamoto) emanating from a speaker in his sparse but elegant room. Treatment requires he apply a scalpel to himself and cut out substantial hunks of flesh, replacing them with programming cubes that fit into the holes and jolt him into other visions. More and more pieces are removed and replaced, but his suffering continues. An hour into the action, the clinic's founder, Dr. Hamilton Price (Maurice Compte), shows up to offer him an extreme and final treatment that eerily relieves the patient of his symptoms for good.

Is it any good?

Between a long, dull narrative of droning gibberish and visuals that are often too fuzzy or darkly cast in shadow to make out, this movie is nearly unwatchable. Perfect tells us, "In this great delusion of love, an object cannot exist without something else to reflect itself back unto itself," and that redundancy alone would make it fair to declare this pretentious disaster dreadfully dreadful. The movie is artsy rather than artistic, mimicry rather than the real thing. Long sequences are presented in red lighting for no particular reason. Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey comes to mind, as does Avatar, but not in a good way. Nudity and peculiarly precious violence make this appropriate for older teens, if it can be said to be appropriate for anyone.

But it's unlikely that teens old enough to handle the content will have the patience to sit through murky visuals and a score by Flying Lotus (aka Steven Ellison) that sounds like a few tinkly cell phone ringtones playing in a loop. No one will mistake this for a meaningful examination of the human condition, although that's what the filmmakers seem to be going for.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what Perfect is trying to say. What do you think the theme is?

  • What are some indications that this is set in the future?

  • Why do you think some of the visuals are so hard to see? Do you think this was deliberate? How do you think mysterious images add to or detract from the movie?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love science fiction

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