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Photo Credit: A24

Mia Goth’s performance in “Pearl” is an unforgettable delve into feminine rage. (Op-Ed)

Pearl, the second movie in Ti West’s X trilogy, is not as bloody as the original X film, but it is far more psychological and feminist and works brilliantly as a prequel. Set in 1918, Pearl (Mia Goth), the old woman from X, lives with her German immigrant parents on their family farm in Texas. As the Spanish Flu rages, Pearl’s mother forces her to stay isolated from the rest of the world. The newly married Pearl’s husband is off fighting in World War I, and she has no one in her life who understands her or her love of film. Her disabled father keeps her tethered to the farm, as she is his primary caretaker. Extremely dissatisfied with her life and the limited roles for women, she slowly starts to lose her sanity.

Many women can relate to Pearl’s struggle and rejoice in her bloody reclamation of her freedom; when the oppressed Pearl finally snaps, the divine feminine rage that ensues is carnal, bloody, and psychopathic. Mia Goth’s performance is as emotional as it is brutal.

This is not a slasher film, but a slow descent into madness for a young woman who simply wanted more for herself. Pearl’s mother, Ruth, is cruel and unflinching, not giving in to what she perceives as Pearl’s childish whims of stardom. Mia Goth plays this role beautifully, encompassing the suppressed rage of a woman forced to occupy a prescribed life with set rules and little freedom. Many clips from the film have been used on TikTok, with women reenacting Pearl’s screams and the iconic line “Please, I’m a star!” While women may have more freedom and opportunities than Pearl, we are increasingly losing our rights at the hands of the United States government. The overturning of Roe v. Wade ignited a fire within women who feel ignored, trapped, and disrespected by Republicans who wish to strip our bodily autonomy away, even in cases of rape or incest.

Mia Goth’s performance is terrifying to watch, from her prolonged, protracted smile, to the tears that stream down her cheeks, to her wide, wild eyes. The rage, sorrow, regret, and lividity that reside within Pearl are innately feminine in every aspect, as she sees men able to do whatever they please, such as working as a film projectionist. I have never seen a performance so raw, Goth does not disappoint.


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