While there have been some notable exceptions, 2019 hasn’t exactly been a great year at the movies. If you’ve been feeling like you’ve been slowly drowning in a sea of mediocre blockbusters, take solace in the fact that you can soon burst back above the surface and gulp down a breath of fresh air in the form of a new indie called Paradise Hills, a visually stunning fairy tale which marks the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Alice Waddington.
I loved this movie when I saw it at its Sundance premiere earlier this year, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating its first trailer so you all can see the incredible style on display here for yourselves. That day has finally come, and you can check out the trailer below.
Paradise Hills Trailer
Waddington has spoken about how this movie is a tribute to her teenaged self, a love letter to a girl who loved consuming sci-fi and fantasy stories but rarely saw a character like herself in a lead role. This is a story about systems of oppression, the patriarchal desire to control and conform women into an “ideal” being, and a group of women standing up to fight against those systems. It’s a terrific movie with a lot on its mind, featuring solid performances from Emma Roberts (We’re The Millers), Awkwafina (The Farewell), Danielle Macdonald (Patti Cake$), a particularly eerie turn from Milla Jovovich as the Duchess who oversees the island facility, and star-making work from actress Eiza Gonzalez, who I’m sorry to say was a mostly forgettable supporting player in Baby Driver.
But beyond the film’s satisfying thematic explorations and the memorable performances, this thing is a visual stunner that’s unlike anything else that’s been in theaters this year. In a movie landscape where many films can often look depressingly similar, it’s incredibly refreshing to see how Waddington, who comes from a costume design background, and her team collaborated to create such a brightly-colored, distinct sci-fi world. Mark your calendars, folks – you won’t want to miss this movie.
Here’s the movie’s official synopsis:
On an isolated island, Uma (Emma Roberts) wakes up to find herself at Paradise Hills, a facility where high-class families send their daughters to become perfect versions of themselves. The facility is run by the mysterious Duchess (Milla Jovovich) where calibrated treatments including etiquette classes, vocal lessons, beauty treatments, gymnastics and restricted diets, revolve all physical and emotional shortcomings within two months. The outspoken Uma finds solace and friendship in other Paradise Hills residents — Chloe (Danielle McDonald), Yu (Awkwafina) and Mexican popstar Amarna (Eiza Gonzalez). Uma soon realizes that lurking behind all this beauty is a sinister secret. It’s a race against the clock as Uma and her friends try to escape Paradise Hills before it consumes them all.
Paradise Hills hits theaters and VOD on November 1, 2019.
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