High Life

 (1,364)5.81 h 53 min2021X-RayR
Monte (Robert Pattinson) and his daughter are the sole survivors of a space mission gone wrong. Now hurtling toward a black hole, they must rely on each other to survive.
Directors
Claire Denis
Starring
Robert PattinsonJuliette BinocheMia Goth
Genres
Science FictionSuspenseArts, Entertainment, and Culture
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
André Benjamin
Studio
A24 Distribution LLC
Rating
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Foul languagenuditysexual contentviolence
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

2.9 out of 5 stars

1364 global ratings

  1. 27% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 17% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 12% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 11% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 34% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

Ms. UnderstoodReviewed in the United States on July 7, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
The key to watching this film is knowing what you're signing up for.
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But don't miss out on something brilliant because of the reviews left by viewers who thought they were settling in to watch a Hollywood sci-fi flick meant to entertain them and wow them with special effects. They misunderstood the film from the outset. High Life isn't typical Hollywood fare; this is art. It isn't meant to entertain; it's meant to present existential questions that have no easy answers (if there be any answers at all). This is indie film at its best.

High Life is a quietly intense, slow-burning, raw and uncomfortable portrayal of the ugliest reaches human nature. Director Claire Denis vividly (and, at times, disturbingly) depicts that depravity and then contrasts it with scenes of unexpected innocence and beauty. Known for her penchant to depict beauty in the midst of ruin and despair, Denis doesn’t disappoint in High Life, and in fact, this may be her best work in that regard.

Robert Pattinson's character, Monte, is a criminal, a man resigned to his bleak existence aboard a doomed spaceship, but instead finds himself challenged and upended by possibility and hope when he unwittingly becomes a father—and sole caretaker—to newborn daughter Willow. Pattinson quite effectively portrays Monte with disarming tenderness, evident in every scene with Willow from start to finish.

Anyone who has followed Pattinson’s career over the past ten years (particularly his post-Twilight roles) knows he’s a gifted, understated actor who’s only gotten better with experience, culminating in his latest indie roles (Good Time, Damsel, High Life, The Lighthouse), but he particularly shines as Monte. Denis possesses a talent for soft, luxurious shots that create a dreamlike aesthetic, and she does not disappoint with her evocative, often sensuous depictions of Pattinson (who on his own possesses an otherworldly type of beauty). She capitalized on that beauty, and consequently, Pattinson’s Monte takes on an ethereal quality at times.

All the other actors were superb in their roles, as well, including the two child actors who portrayed Willow (as a baby and then as a teen). Both of these young ladies were impressively effective in their roles, bringing breathtaking, startling innocence to each one of their scenes.

There are numerous scenes that portray violence, but it’s not a bloodbath as some seem to imply. I’m sensitive to graphic violence, and I didn’t find anything to be too graphic, or too much to watch. The portrayal of violent rape was disturbing, but not graphic in my opinion. The sexual content was heavy, but there were no graphic depictions of sexual activity—with the exception of the f*ckbox scene, of course, but even that was watchable in that it seemed to be portrayed as more of a statement (and an artistic take on that statement) than something included for mere titillation.

It's frustrating to see such a brilliant, cerebral film receive so many one-star reviews from viewers who were expecting typical Hollywood-style fare, and then didn't react well when it turned out to be nothing like a mainstream flick. Reading through the one-star reviews, it’s evident that many unassuming viewers balked at the unexpected content and were quick to leave reviews that defame the film, the actors, and the director with disgusted rants that reveal a complete misunderstanding of the film and the director’s vision.
430 people found this helpful
chinodogReviewed in the United States on June 20, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
What was the point of this movie??
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I was intrigued to watch this movie after seeing the trailer for it. I generally love anything Sci-Fi, but this movie tried to be some artistic expression of the genre. I was horrified that they did an prolonged close up of a baby's genitalia with all the concern about child exploitation. Anyways, on to the story......... Nothing is clear in the story line. We are not exactly sure of where the characters came from, why they are in space, where they are going and why they have a freaky sex room! This movie depicts child nudity, male rape, dying babies, animal abuse and perverse sexual fantasy. Whoever came up with this movie is mentally ill and couldn't come up with a solid story line. Total waste of money.
327 people found this helpful
TomHunter1968Reviewed in the United States on June 14, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Possibly the worst sci-fi movie of the year. A space-based train wreck.
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The plot is non-existent. It melds chaotically into various dull subplots that make no sense. There’s no action. No urgency. Just a tedious, plodding, rudderless mess. The trailer suckered me in, and I regret it.
151 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on June 16, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Horrible... Run away
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Bad filming, nothing but *zoom in & out, dramatic cutaway to alternate time scenes and return again *, stupid "music", low budget set must have blown all funds on main actor but that was a waste as he's only capable of low grade emo acting parts, devoid of plausible storyline or plot- very hard to buy into, obvious set errors not capable in space, gratuitous nudity & sustained closeups of a toddler, really?
116 people found this helpful
Amazon CustomerReviewed in the United States on June 27, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Degenerate Crap
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This movie was so bad I shut it off halfway through. I am an avid sci-fi fan and I don’t typically have a problem with movies featuring the occasional sex scene. However this movie started going downhill quickly, starting with a scene that lingered far to long with nothing really in the shot but a baby vagina, it then changed scenes quickly to a woman vigorously riding a masterbation chair that went on for an encredible long time followed by some guy creepily touching himself and peeping tomming and then that scene was immediately followed by a rape scene that turned into a naked man violently beating 3 women 2 of which had their hands tied. This movie was garbage followed by more garbage and I don’t even know how bad it would have gotten.
112 people found this helpful
Paul AllaerReviewed in the United States on April 20, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
4.5 stars... A space oddysey of a very different kind - Binoche and Pattison shine
"High Life" brings the story of a group of 9 outcasts, traveling towards the nearest black hole. As the movie opens, a guy is doing a space walk to repair the space ship. He is also in communication with a baby girl, presumably his daughter, who becomes restless. He comes back insides the space ship and takes care of her. No sign of the mother, or anyone else for that matter, that is until the guy enters a room where a number of people are in hibernation--or are they dead? At this point we are 10 min. into the movie but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this is the latest film from respected French director (and co-writer) Claire Denis, whose previous film was the excellent "Let the Sun Shine In" (starring Juliette Binoche). "High Life" actually is Denis' first English language movie. The movie is plot-heavy so I really din't want to see much more of that, other than we do of course learn in flashbacks how these 9 end up at that particular point in time, and let me tell you, it is one wild ride. I kept thinking to myself, "this is a Space Oddysey of a very different kind!'. Binoche stars again, and she is utterly brilliant. Robert Pattison does quite well as the guy we get to know in the opening scenes. Mia Goth, whom we saw last year in the excellent "Suspiria", is also noteworthy. BEWARE: there are several ultra-violent and, frankly, shocking scenes in the film. "High Life" is definitely not for the faint of heart, that is for sure. But I found is an intriguing, unusual and original "space movie" that kept my attention from start to finish (ah, yes, that ending...).

"High Life" premiered and last falls Toronto International Film Festival, and I have been waiting for an opportunity to see it ever since. The movie finally arrived at my local art-house theater this weekend here in Cincinnati, and I immediately went to see it. The Friday early evening screening where I saw this at was not attended well (7 people, including myself). That's a darn shame. Hopefully the movie will gain a wider audience as it is released on other platforms. IF you are in the mood for an unusual space drama, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
138 people found this helpful
George AllamanReviewed in the United States on July 1, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
Surprisingly Horrible
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I LOVE good science fiction, especially the kind that goes outside the box, like "2001 A Space Odyssey," a true classic in its artsy, cerebral approach. "High Life" tries SOOO HARD to be that kind of movie, and the production is awesome, but its writing is flawed at its core, from the start. It was that horrible kind of movie that takes itself so seriously that I have to watch it to the end to see where it is going, only to realize it's not going anywhere and I wasted an hour and half of my life believing a false promise. I should have known better.

I'll start with the pros since that's a much shorter list. The cinematography has a few moments of brilliance and irony. A few. It has more moments of unintended absurdity, like the lighting on the spacecraft exterior that looks more like a contemporary living room and does not occur elsewhere. Binoche is as always endearing - in her acting, not her character, who is anything but endearing. She is a true witch here, a testament to her skill. I was embarrassed for her that her bucking bronco sex machine (literally, a masturbation machine she sits on) went on so long and tried so hard to be artsy. Pattinson is convincing but achieves it with that overdone posing that worked well for him in teen-targeted "Twilight," not so well here. The rest of the characters were shallow and wooden.

The brooding, slow, oh-so-meaningful pace initially yields some suspense that quickly turns into impatience. The spacecraft has NO sound, total silence inside, no whirring or buzzing or beeps, that makes it feel like a Broadway stage. There is the occasional nod to real science when the spacecraft approaches light speed and the stars appear to all move to the direction of travel. I would have liked some other cool and unexpected stuff to occur, but no. And very briefly when one of the characters drops into a black hole feet first, you see her feet stretch away from her as the gravity gradient increases violently, but the camera quickly returns to her bruised, bloody and completely unstretched face, since gross out is so much more important in this movie than science.

Good science fiction is based on good science - a fascinating and convincing premise that makes you go "wow!" - and then proceeds to blow your mind with twists that follow logically from this premise. There is no cool sciencey premise here, only a bunch of mentally unstable characters stuck in a space ship. It could as easily be a prison or an island.

It is easy for me to believe that the story was written around scenes, not a plot. We need some really graphic violence here, then a long sullen scene that seems to have some deep meaning but doesn't, leading into total gross out scene with lots of white sperm, shiny blood, and god knows what other bodily fluids. Oh, and don't forget a healthy dose of profanity. We need shock. Come to think of it, let's have a graphic rape scene with dim blue lighting, lots of screams and outrage. What? It's not believable? Don't worry about it, the audience will love it.

Wait, I got an idea - let's have Binoche rape Pattinson! Now that's original, a chick-rape! And they are so cute! Where can we throw that in? Plot be damned, full speed ahead. We'll make up for the complete lack of meaning and logical flow by making it so slow that viewers will figure it MUST have meaning, and give it an ending that makes no sense so they can supply their own.

Why did I waste my time with this movie? Because of the amazing reviews. In particular, I have tremendous respect for, and a great track record with, Roger Ebert (God rest his soul) reviews which gave this movie 4 out of 4 stars. It was dead wrong. If you read it you won't find much substance, just unfocused praise. Roger, your people totally let you down. He would have hated this movie and said why much better than I.

I wanted so badly to like this movie. There was nothing to like. There was hardly even anything to dislike. It is a vapid, empty shell of a movie with a spattering of gross-out sex and meaningless violence. Don't waste your time.
63 people found this helpful
E. PeacockReviewed in the United States on October 13, 2019
1.0 out of 5 stars
This needs to be banned due to child pornography.
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Completely innapropriate and needs to be removed.
The first few minutes is a prolonged close of Robert Pattinson rubbing an actual baby girls genitals!!! WTF?!?!

I have to seriously question anyone on here stating they enjoyed this movie.
I am all for shock but a HUGE line was crossed with sexualizing an infant's genitalia. I dont care what point the director was trying to make. This is only catering to child predators.
This movie is nothing but sexual deviancy and babies genitals. This is utterly disturbing and exactly what is wrong in the world.

This is not ok and needs to be removed.
Shame on the parents who allowed their baby to be sexually abused for money.
Where is Child protective services?!?!
Freedom of expression does not allow for child porn. Deplorable.
38 people found this helpful
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