Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel turn in brave performances in this madcap comedy of the sexes, written by Jane and her sister Anna Campion (to whom Sweetie is dedicated). After falling under the sway of a cultish guru in India, Ruth Barron (Winslet) is deceived by her parents to return home so that she can be deprogrammed by world-renowned “exit counselor” PJ Waters (Keitel). Something between a therapist and a mercenary, Waters travels halfway around the world and takes Ruth into the Australian bush to interrogate, question, and break down everything she believes—but what begins as a debate over spiritual ideals spirals into a role reversal that must be seen to be believed. Holy Smoke was Campion’s most unusual film since Sweetie: a funny and hallucinatory critique of patriarchal civility, but one whose message is ultimately humanist. An NYFF37 selection.
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