Two days ago I saw Rose Glass’s Love Lies Bleeding (A24, 3.8), and tonight [Thursday, 2.22] I watched Ethan Coen and Tricia Cooke’s DriveAway Dolls (Focus Features, now playing).

Both are quite dykey — hungrily, aggressively sexual. The Coen-Cooke is mildly crazy in a nervy, farcical way (vaguely recalling the tone of Raising Arizona, the 1987 Coen Bros. film) while the Glass is like a volcano that spews more and more lava. And from my surprised perspective, both are moderately approvable.

This is not what I expected. I was a little bit afraid that both would piss me off in some way or would at least be annoying, and neither did that. Neither film is truly double grade-A but at the same time neither has anything to apologize for. And the Coen-Cooke is often fleet and clever, and it ends perfectly with a reaction shot from a peripheral character…bingo!

Glass’s film, which really uncorks the madness during its final third, is subversive in a way that I didn’t see coming.

The Coen-Cooke is deadpan droll — much lighter and goofier than the melodramatic Bleeding, which deals straight cards until the end and never fools around — although with a fair amount of violence. But you also know it’s basically comedic and is therefore going to observe boundaries.

Maybe it’s me but both films seem determined to be as provocative as they can be with the sex scenes. A lot of slurping and smooching and fingering and muff-diving, and the Coen-Cooke even goes in for sizable wang prosthetics toward the end.

I flinched a bit when the Glass went in for some light toe-chewing — sorry but the toes in question struck me as too thick and knobby. A voice inside went “eeeww, no…too much.”

Call me full of it if you want, but I have this impression that U.S. filmmakers aren’t allowed these days to make sexually graphic hetero-love-affair films. They can only dive into hot sex if it’s from a gay or lesbian serving tray. The prohibiting of Last Tango in Paris-level presentation is understood in every progressive corner of the industry (you certainly couldn’t make a film about a couple of saucy women who love to get fucked by Glenn Powell-type guys and are totally into hungry blowjobs, not in today’s environment) and you can sense that Glass and Coen-Cooke knew they had carte blanche approval and that now (i.e., last year) was the time to go for it and pull out the stops.

Posted by Vanity Fair‘s Savannah Walsh, 2.22.24: