For a better experience on MUBI, update your browser.
Critics reviews
Beanpole
Kantemir Balagov Russia, 2019
The outward trappings of Beanpole suggest that these emotional crises somehow pertain to postwar nation-building, motherhood, or the marginalization of women under a supposedly egalitarian communism. But Balagov leaves all of these threads dangling, instead resolving the film purely within the private realm.
March 23, 2020
Read full article
The story is compounded by Balagov’s imposing visual aesthetic, which was evident in Closeness but here is on a whole new level.
February 25, 2020
Read full article
Exquisitely grueling yet fiercely humane, Kantemir Balagov’s Beanpole, an astounding Russian period drama, cements the artistically mature director as a prodigy of international cinema moving towards an auspicious career.
February 19, 2020
Read full article
In a couple of quick years, Balagov has become one of the great young hopes of international cinema — a director who can tell complex, resonant stories and who has the stylistic dexterity of a master.
February 15, 2020
Read full article
Beanpole is effective, regardless, and at times genuinely moving, if frequently beguiling. It often works—even it believes a little too much in the power of its design and intentions to fully live up to them.
February 03, 2020
Read full article
As difficult as Beanpole can be to watch, it quietly accumulates kindnesses alongside the crueler twists of fate, and hopes that warmth is more sustaining.
January 30, 2020
Read full article
Balagov’s visual design (contrasting vivid green and red against dark or desiccated backgrounds) conceptualizes dystopia, same as many other dispirited social critiques: Think Joker made with style.
January 29, 2020
Read full article
A masterpiece of stylistic eloquence and emotional acuity, “Beanpole” builds on the strengths of its predecessor [“Closeness”] with astonishing confidence.
January 28, 2020
Read full article
This is only the second feature from the sensationally talented Russian director Kantemir Balagov (who was born in 1991), and it’s a gut punch. It’s also a brilliantly told, deeply moving story about love.
January 28, 2020
Read full article
There are many devastating scenes in Beanpole, a film that conveys the thorny struggles of humanity that come in the wake of war: testing the boundaries of loyalty, frantic searches for redemption, and the anguishing work of doing what is right, even if it is painful.
October 08, 2019
Read full article
A war film in the deepest sense since it depicts the devastation wrought by conflict, without a single battle scene.
October 07, 2019
Read full article
Balagov has an amazing rapport with his two nearly novice actors, Viktoria Miroshnichenko and Vasilisa Perelygina, and the beauty of his mise en scène does not diminish our comprehension of the traumas that, surely, will permanently scar his characters.
July 01, 2019
Read full article
Balagov states that he wanted to explore the consequences of war at a personal level, and not “just through abandoned or destroyed buildings.”2 But by concentrating on parallel reproductive drives, Balagov relinquishes the personal, turning the womb into his metaphor.
May 24, 2019
Read full article
While Beanpole’s subject matter is lacerating, and the film doesn’t exactly pull punches, Balagov’s mode is not miserabilist. There’s a deep and inviting poetry to the director’s mise-en-scène throughout, and his storytelling is unimpeachable for its reserve and delicacy.
May 21, 2019
Read full article
This thinness renders the melodrama of the new film more abstract: Its power games of intimacy and fulfillment take place in a world rebooted, with lives rebuilt from memory, longing, and hope for the future. Such is its intense intimacy and Balagov’s expressive use of colors, textures, and Stalin-era close-quarters housing that Beanpole, despite its wider canvas, often feels like a chamber drama or kammerspiel.
May 17, 2019
Read full article
The film displays intense emotional seriousness and is finely performed and directed; but further shaping could have revealed the more focused work that’s begging to emerge.
May 16, 2019
Read full article
“Beanpole” is dense and allusive enough that I suspect it will look even richer viewed outside of as frenzied a context as Cannes. But Balagov’s skill as a filmmaker—there’s one extraordinary long take involving Iya and Pashka that I’m reluctant to give away—is beyond doubt.
May 16, 2019
Read full article