stars at noon
starring: margaret qualley, joe alwyn, benny safdie, and nick romano
REVIEWER: lyall carter
A young American journalist stranded in present-day Nicaragua falls for an enigmatic Englishman who seems like her best chance of escape.
Trish (Margaret Qualley), a young American journalist stranded in present-day Nicaragua falls for Daniel (Joe Alwyn), an enigmatic Englishman who seems like her best chance of escape. She soon realises, though, that their torrid affair has only put her in more danger.
While Stars At Noon appears to exist in a modern, Covid pandemic world there is a sense of a 70’s or 80’s erotic thriller to it with, with a splash of arthouse sensibility in the midst of political unrest. But to call it a thriller would perhaps set up expectations that wouldn’t necessarily be fully realised.
Veteran director Claire Denis seems to take an almost documentarian approach to her film making, seemingly to be more interested in exploring the life of the characters that inhabit her work as well as the world around them. For some modern audiences this pacing and that for the first half hour we follow and slowly delve into Trish’s daily routines and rituals without really reaching anything resembling a plot point will be jarring.
The camera lingers on the lead characters as they move from place to place, have long conversations, and moments of unbridled passion. And this is what Stars At Noon truly is as a film. It’s a meandering depiction of a young woman that while determined and strong, is also world weary and a little bit broken, trapped in a world that she doesn’t fully comprehend.
Margaret Qualley is magnetic here, whirling from strength to brokenness in a single turn. Joe Alwyn continues his impressive form, bringing a guarded stoicism all with a beating heart.
While the pace may be a little slow for some, Stars At Noon is a stripped back, observational piece with a whirlwind, superb performance from Margaret Qualley.