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  • Writer's pictureJack Salvadori

Cannes #77 - "Anora" Review

Updated: Jun 3

Sean Baker’s downbeat vision of America is back with his latest film, starring Mikey Madison as a colourful stripper, Anora, chasing her golden dream.


Sex work is a familiar ground for the independent filmmaker, having addressed the topic in his distinct way since his very first movie. Never preachy, the director aims to remove the stigma of sex work by making universally relatable stories, dense with humour rather than moralistic messages. His winning formula to forge honest characters is giving them dignity and strength, resulting in believable portraits that never verge into caricatures, powerful enough to carry the film on their own realistic shades: the story will just follow.

In this class comedy, money can indeed buy happiness- at least until trouble catches up. Opposite realities clash, as Ani, a New York based escort, or “erotic dancer”, as she prefers to be called, falls in love with Ivan, a Russian ultra-rich and spoilt daddy’s boy, while performing a lap dance.

Ani grabs the opportunity presented on a silver platter, and she is suddenly cast in a champagne flavoured world of excess in the form of mansions and private jets. She might be in for the money, but the reckless fun they have together is genuine, and it is photographed in a much more polished look compared to Baker’s signature grainy aesthetic, mirroring the lavish nature of this luxurious universe. The fairytale unfolds until Ivan’s parents become aware of their son’s impulsive wedding, and immediately send their goons to salvage the situation and bring the kids back to planet earth.


The modernised Pretty Woman turns rather into Nights of Cabiria, as our Cindarella lives in a capitalist kingdom where magic does not exist and romanticism is traded for realism. The promiscuous newly-weds’ vicissitudes are rich in humour, resulting in an exhilarating comedy which always remains grounded in reality, that scored constant applauses during its premiere. According to Baker, “without humour, any given situation is not real”, and with Anora he confirms to be one of the most important voices in contemporary American cinema.


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