In an undetermined future, society has divided in two types: upper-class or "superiors", and the rest of the world, mid and lower-class, named "inferiors". Uma is a superior teen girl who reluctant to marry with another superior named Son to be fall in love of an inferior named Markus, her mother sends her to Paradise Hills, a school for young ladies to reform rebel girls located in a remote island in the middle of the ocean. Waking up in Paradise not knowing how she arrived there, in the island she meets another students of the school: Amarna, a world pop star who was sent after she decided sing her own songs against the will of her parents and the music company that produces her albums; Chloe, an over-weight girl which parents want to turn her in a perfect woman, thin and complaint; and Yu, an inferior that after the loss of her parents was sent with her superiors aunt and uncle, who wants to make perfect and superior as them. At the same time that Uma meets the eccentric and ...Written by
"Paradise Hills" is full of homages to 1980s, delightfully camp genre film classics: When the audience sees the Paradise Hills girls for the first time, three of them are dressed in white are skipping a white rope. Just like in Freddy's saga, it's meant to be a death omen.
The Escher-like architecture and Uma's gown in her wedding ball are direct homages to Jim Henson's 1986 film Labyrinth. Alice Waddington has been very open with her love for the Henson Company's aesthetics, leadership and creativity. See more »
A visually appealing dystopic thriller with a flawed plot
There's much to enjoy in this movie, which paints a colorful and fashionable future as a dystopia of wealth and lower classes through the eyes of four young women at the mercy of their families. The obvious appeal is visual, from couture costuming, makeup and hair styles, to interesting cinematography and visual effects; for Alice Waddington's first time as director she managed to tie those elements together in a way that maintains interest, and keeps the plot succinctly controlled. Solid performances from Awkwafina, Danielle Macdonald, Milla Jovovich, and Danielle Macdonald keep the audience engaged, and Emma Roberts is eccentrically interesting, though her character confuses.
I like the overall plot concept, which reminds of Stepford Wives with a sci fi twist that has a good level of plausibility. However, a secondary inexplicable "supernatural" layer mars what could have been the more believable story line, and the last 10 minutes either need a lot of additional information for the viewer or, in my opinion, should have been cut completely. While the end adds "excitement" to the finale, for this viewer, it was a futile attempt to add a blockbuster fantasy element that was completely unnecessary. That doesn't make the movie less interesting in the end, and the last moments of the film tie back to the start making a reasonably satisfying story arc. I would have enjoyed learning more about the class distinctions in this society, which would have been far more interesting than spending time on the baffling plot lines aforementioned.
Generally speaking, a movie worth watching; it's a pity the movie didn't have good US distribution; and I'll keep an eye out for Waddington's next.
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