The Horror Honeys: And You Thought YOUR Mother Was the Worst...

And You Thought YOUR Mother Was the Worst...

A Revenge Honey New Release Review by Linnie

Hungry Hearts (2015)

I am vocal about the fact that I will always prefer films that focus on the horrors of real life versus those that rely too heavily on blood and gore. Gore is fun, but when it comes to really stressing out your Revenge Honey, give me a drama or thriller based in the terrors of the everyday. For that reason, Saverio Costanzo's Hungry Hearts gave me the worst anxiety attack I've had in about a year.

That, my creepy friends, is a glowing endorsement.

The Story: Jude (Adam Driver) and Mina (Alba Rohrwacher) meet in the cutest/most disgusting way imaginable: trapped in a bathroom where Jude has just suffered severe intestinal distress. Surprisingly, this is a recipe for love, and the duo are pregnant and married before you have time to fully register they even like each other. Almost immediately after giving birth, Mina starts acting... odd. She won't let their infant outside, or allow him to eat anything she didn't grow in their rooftop greenhouse. Jude catches her feeding the baby a strange oil, and their son doesn't seem to be growing at all, but Mina won't allow him to see a doctor. As Jude fears for the life of his child, Mina descends even further into her fear of the outside world, convinced their baby is the "Indigo Child," or a savior of the world that must be protected from toxins. Which parent is right? Should a mother's instinct be trusted beyond all logic and reason?

Bouncy bouncy airplane was never so nefarious...
From the earliest moments of Mina's pregnancy, the tone is set that something is wrong with her mental health. She refuses to eat, even though she is dangerously underweight in regards to both her, and her baby's, safety. She has to be tricked into having a cesarian, even when it is clear she will never be able to give birth naturally because she is so emaciated. When her baby is in an incubator, she demands he be removed, despite the fact he too is far too small to survive without it. Every decision she makes seems deliberate, terrifying, and manipulative. Jude can do nothing but stand by, little more than a bystander to his wife's dangerous delusions.

Just say no, baby!
Or are they? What Hungry Hearts does brilliantly is plant the tiniest seed that maybe, just maybe, everything Mina is doing has a purpose. Maybe all of her demands for trust are rooted in the possibility that she actually knows what she's doing. The imagery of growth and nature via the rooftop greenhouse is vital to the story: the baby's stunted growth, the tangled web of Mina's mind, the distrust that is growing between the couple. Every moment in Hungry Hearts is deliberate and this is what kept me so engaged for the movie's entire run time.

This looks adorable. It is not adorable. It just... isn't.
The performances by the film's lead are actors are what carry Hungry Hearts and they are absolutely phenomenal. Driver and Rohrwacher meet cute, and then every moment that follows is a tug-of-war for dominance in their relationship. Mina is a 100% unsympathetic character; I wanted to punch my computer simply because she resided within it. Every word from her mouth is soaked in manipulation and I was often annoyed that Jude wasn't as clued in as I was. And yet... I realized quickly that meant Rohrwacher was doing her job. The pull between trusting her as a mother and realizing she is off her hinges is important, and Rohrwacher expertly walks the line. Until she falls over it.

RUN! RUN! THAT BABY NEEDS HAM!
Driver is just as superb as Rohrwacher, carrying all of the weight of a man trapped by his love and his logic. I think Adam Driver is poised to become one of the few great actors of his particular generation, and performances like the one he gives in Hungry Hearts prove why. With the pliable appearance of Anthony Perkins and the skill of Gregory Peck, Driver blends into his roles in such away that you can either love him or loathe him in the same two-film span. In this film, as he reaches his breaking point many times over, you desperately want to help him, soothe him, save him, and his son. It's this performance that anchors a film that could easily be nothing more than an indictment of the East Coast Hipster Lifestyle.

Hungry Hearts isn't a movie that is going to appeal to every horror lover; it's slowly-paced, exceedingly quiet, and virtually bloodless. But it is everything I love about indie cinema. Which is why I think it's one of the best films I've seen this year.

Revenge Honey Rating: 4 1/2 mystery oils out of 5

Hungry Hearts will be released in limited New York cinemas & available on VOD on June 5th, and will screen in Los Angeles on June 12, at the Sundance Sunset Cinema

Do you prefer real life horror to blood & guts?
Chat with me about it on Twitter: @linnieloowho