It’s clear from the opening shots that a physically and psychically savaged post-war Poland is impossible ground for love to flower, and it’s a testament to Pawel Pawlikowski’s talent that this fatalism makes us more, not less, invested in the romance.
It has a serviceable, conventional approach that summarizes the extraordinary achievements of a remarkable woman but offers little more than predictable and inspirational Pinterest-quote fare that would have been better suited for an HBO TV movie.
How you feel about the film will depend on how you feel about politics, probably. But don’t let partisanship get in the way of appreciating another inventive film from McKay, and some truly brilliant performances. Surely on that, we can all agree.
It's clear this movie is for a certain audience, but at least the film embraces its genre and the jokes stick the landing. It's definitely worth a watch for fans of movies with an early 2000s rom-com aesthetic.
The House That Jack Built is more than just an epic piece of cinematic trolling; it’s von Trier taking a microscope to his creative process in all its obsessive ugliness, creating a sophisticated meta-commentary on his art and daring the audience not to be entertained by his extreme indulgence in all the predilections for which he’s been roundly criticized.