Fantastic Fest Review: The Perfection

Allison Williams hits all the right notes in this musical black comedy

It might be time to acknowledge Allison Williams as one of our most interesting actresses. Following on the heels of Get Out, Williams is back as the star of The Perfection, a delicious revenge film set in the world of classical music.

Once again, she avoids the path of least resistance, committing herself wholeheartedly to a black comedy that’s as angry as they come. Whoever is handing her scripts deserves a healthy raise.

For 10 years, Charlotte (Williams) has looked after her dying mother, setting aside her own dreams of becoming a professional musician in the process. Now free of that burden, Charlotte hatches a plan to reclaim what was lost, setting her sights on Elizabeth (Logan Browning), the new darling of her former conservatory. Are the two falling in love? Or is Elizabeth being set up for a fall? Based on that description, you may think you have The Perfection figured out. You really, really don't. Split into four music-inspired movements  – The Mission, Detour, Home, and Duet  –  The Perfection is as raw a piece of filmmaking as you’ll see this year, possessing complete confidence in its tone and the many twists and turns it needs to pull off along the way. There's an intoxicating amount of ambition on display here. Who cares about a few loose threads when you can bust your knuckles on the audience’s nose?

Williams is the star of the show, of course, but Browning and Steven Webber (playing the kindly patriarch of the music conservatory) are hardly incidental. As the story unfolds, a pitch-black power struggle between their three characters emerges, leading to the single most satisfying shot of the festival. Be sure to take note of David Dean’s masterful editing, which also finds a unique rhythm between classical compositions and contemporary violence. Dead composers have never been this dangerous.

The Perfection

World Premiere
Fantastic Fest runs Sept. 20-27. For more news, reviews, and interviews, as well as our daily show with the podcast network, visit

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