Over the course of his directing career, John Cameron Mitchell has demonstrated interest in, at various points: complex humanity, punk rock, and writhing sex parties. Naturally, his latest film combines all of three of those things — plus aliens and Nicole Kidman.
In How to Talk to Girls at Parties, three British punkers in the late ‘70s stumble upon a house party full of horny, weirdly emotionless aliens — and one of the aliens surprisingly falls for one of the British lads. Cue: a narrative about rebels (i.e. the punks) raging against conformity (i.e. the aliens, who all wear the same neon latex bodysuit.) At one point, Nicole Kidman appears as the Cruella De Vil-haired Queen Boadicea, a domineering punk goddess whose name sounds like a B-side Milwaukee drag queen. (Fun fact: Mitchell also directed Kidman to an Oscar nomination, her first in eight years, via 2011’s Rabbit Hole.)
Of course, this wouldn’t be a John Cameron Mitchell movie without the requisite shocking subject matter, so we can also expect — judging by the trailer — body mutilation, giant orgies involving apathetic moaning, and Elle Fanning vomiting into a dude’s mouth. Rabbit Hole, this is not.
Speaking of Elle Fanning, the Maleficent star and younger sis of Dakota Fanning is a far cry from Sleeping Beauty in this movie, as she plays the star-crossed alien who falls for the British punk. The trailer hints that she moonlights as a punk singer at one point in the film, thus angering her alien elders who look down on any form of self-expression that doesn’t involve nauseatingly grotesque sex acts.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties has earned not-so-great reviews since it debuted at Cannes last year, but we still think it could work as a post wake-and-bake, post-Sunday brunch conversation piece that we would watch with our besties before abandoning halfway through to take a nap.