Please Baby Please (2022) – Movie Review

Please Baby Please, 2022.

Directed by Amanda Kramer.
Starring Andrea Riseborough, Harry Melling, Karl Glusman, Demi Moore, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Ryan Simpkins, Dana Ashbrook, Jaz Sinclair, Cole Escola, Jake Choi, Marquis Rodriguez, Karim Saleh, Jake Sidney Cohen, Matt D’Elia, Dalton Weaver, Yedoye Travis, and Alisa Torres.


Newlyweds Suse and Arthur become the dangerous obsession of a greaser gang that awakens a sleeping quandary into the couple’s sexual identity.

The opening sequence of Please Baby Please brings a twisted variation on West Side Story: a street gang marches and dances through the 1950s streets while snapping their fingers. Things quickly turn dark once they murder a couple right in front of Suze (Andrea Riseborough) and Arthur (Harry Melling), newlyweds that are not so traumatized by witnessing this act of violence.

They each have a different reaction, with Suze experiencing a kinky sexual awakening desiring that kind of roughness in bed (things like choking), whereas Arthur is gentle and respectful, completely disinterested in role-play, unable to comprehend the joy and satisfaction that comes from acting out of character. Meanwhile, he develops a crush on one of the leather-jacket-sporting street hoodlums. As a result, they get together with their friends and discuss these newfound feelings and urges, with writer/director Amanda Kramer (co-writing alongside Noel David Taylor) highly interested in commenting on gender and sexual dynamics of the time, wanting to flip them upside down with these characters.

The intended goal with Please Baby Please is unquestionably intriguing as Suze shifts and evolves, especially after befriending sexually adventurous apartment complex neighbor Maureen (Demi Moore), who introduces Suze to the concept of sex toys and pleasuring oneself. Then there is Arthur, played with vulnerability and sensitivity by Harry Melling, laying out his idea of what a man is, having never felt compelled to indulge in a more traditional masculine side. The street gang is also interrogated on why they behave the way they do, although not necessarily emerge as characters worth investing in.

However, Amanda Kramer’s tonal approach to these various fascinating dynamics is obnoxious and insufferable, opting for camp and aggressively loud performances that drown out interest and who these characters are and who they want to become, and what they have to say. Not even an abundance of bisexual lighting, erotic dancing, and flirtatious encounters bursting with sexual tension is enough to salvage the misguided lack of restraint in executing the story.

There’s a sensation that Amanda Kramer does have a firm grasp on sexuality and subverting the time’s gender dynamics and could have written a remarkable screenplay for Please Baby Please on the subjects without resorting to an onslaught of over-the-top screening and shouting that simply wears one down until they no longer care, or at least until the characters briefly have a more quiet conversation with actual relatable dialogue (again, Harry Melling fares much better here with stronger lines and material to work with).

Ironically, the ending is strikingly noteworthy as the characters finally embrace their new identities and roles, so it’s a shame that everything prior will leave one muttering under their breath please baby please, let it end. 

Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★  / Movie: ★ ★

Robert Kojder is a member of the Chicago Film Critics Association and the Critics Choice Association. He is also the Flickering Myth Reviews Editor. Check here for new reviews, follow my Twitter or Letterboxd, or email me at [email protected]


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