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Review: On Body and Soul — "Dreamy" romance between autistic girl and crippled man

on body and soul still

On Body and Soul (2017) Testről és lélekről

Movie Review


What would you do if you found out someone has been having the same specific dreams as you every night? This is practically what this Hungarian drama is mainly about. Directed and written by Ildikó Enyedi, On Body and Soul follows two people who works at a slaughterhouse — Endre (Géza Morcsányi), the CFO whose arm is crippled, and Maria (Alexandra Borbély), the new quality inspector who has an unusual behaviour. When they found out they've been sharing the same dreams as a couple of deer in the forest, they're intrigued to recreate that connection in real life.

I thought the film was going to try to make me a vegan with the brutal images of cows getting slaughtered and the two protagonists dreaming of being animals in love. But it actually never had that purpose. It's an art house flick with the genre's typically slow pacing. The slaughterhouse setting and graphic shots of slaughtering are perhaps just to depict the numb, business-as-usual, every day life of the characters. And that, the film does superbly well along with great performances by the actors, particularly Alexandra Borbely (Swing) as the woman who may be autistic with her lack of social skills, extreme preciseness and the ability to just remember everything clearly.

on body and soul deer dream

The idea is a compelling one. Two people who, at glance, may not even hang out together. But because of this one thing in common, they go out of each other's usual ways to reach out to another. Of course, when something as supernatural as having the same romantic dream as someone else would naturally make them think they're soulmates (not unless that person is not of their sexual preference, I guess). Despite that, it can be really difficult to just get together and let it happen. The film explores these challenges well but fails to make me feel like Endre and Maria are actually in love with each other.

Basically, it feels more like this much older, crippled man in power at a company who's been single for a long time, and this pretty, younger woman who's never had a lover or even a friend, just really want to have sex but couldn't easily get each other's mutual agreement due to communication issues. I don't even understand what the deer are doing in the otherwise beautifully shot dream sequences. In overall, I find the film quite boring and frustrating to sit through for a point that's made long before the surprisingly cliched ending. It could've at least been more impactful if it went with a darker closure.

What I would've named the film: "In Need to Get Laid"

Malaysian censorship: The climax and ending that the film builds up to are unfortunately required to be cut due to nudity. Scenes of cows getting slaughters aren't censored though.

Verdict: Not really your typical romance drama. But I didn't enjoy it.

Rating: 2.5 / 5

On Body And Soul movie poster malaysia gscCountry / Language: Hungary / Hungarian

Genre: Drama, romance
Running Time: 116 minutes
Director-writer: Ildikó Enyedi
Cast: Géza Morcsányi, Alexandra Borbély, Zoltán Schneider

Malaysia Release Date: 7 December 2017
Rated: 18
Local Distributor: GSC Movies
Production: Inforg-M&M Film Kft.



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