Queen of Earth, film review: ‘Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss stars in drama about two friends who hate each other’

Elisabeth Moss in Queen of Earth

Elisabeth Moss in Queen of Earth - Credit: Archant

Queen of Earth is a drama about two friends who don’t like each other.

After a messy break up with a cheating boyfriend, Catherine (Moss) gets away from it all by staying with her best friend Virginia (Waterston) in her parents’ country house.

Both of them are from comfortable backgrounds and judged to be spoilt.

Over the course of a week, we see the pair of them not getting on and Catherine bickering about the presence of Virginia’s boyfriend Rich (Fugit); while in flashback, we see how during the previous summer’s vacation, the pair of them didn’t not get on and it was Virginia who bickered about the presence of Catherine’s boyfriend (Audley).

It’s a low budget American indie humblecore drama – a small selection of people talking in a small selection of locations – but placed within the accoutrements of a low budget horror film.


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The remote country lodge location is prime slasher movie real estate, and almost every move is accompanied by a menacing ominous score by Keegan DeWitt. As Catherine succumbs to depression, the film becomes more ambiguous, summoning up a claustrophobic atmosphere of undefined dread.

Perry is a filmmaker who is comfortable with the obnoxious.

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In his previous film, the droll and mildly enjoyable literary New York comedy drama Listen Up Philip, a lot of the humour was from the characters’ inability to apply any kind of filter to their speech – they’d say exactly what they were thinking no matter how direct and insulting.

That works for comedy but here, it rather undermines the credibility of the lifelong friendship when these two women can’t seem to say a single civil word to each other for 90 minutes, or allow any remark to pass without jumping down the other person’s throat.

Rating: 2/5 stars

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