‘Chained for Life’ Film Review: Cult-Film-Within-a-FIlm Creates Haunting Meta-Narrative

  • The Wrap
‘Chained for Life’ Film Review: Cult-Film-Within-a-FIlm Creates Haunting Meta-Narrative
Chained for Life” opens with a long quotation from Pauline Kael, the point of which is difficult to disagree with: actors and actresses tend to be more beautiful than the rest of us. Though the reason for this phenomenon is simple enough — people enjoy looking at pretty things, including and especially other people — its effects tend to be more complicated.

One case in point is writer-director Aaron Schimberg’s film, which makes good on its epigraph by exploring our conception of beauty (among many other things) with unexpected tenderness — unexpected because, at first glance, it looks like an ill-advised riff on “Freaks” that could easily turn exploitative.

Alongside Jess Weixler (“It Chapter Two”), who’s one of countless thespians to demonstrate Kael’s point, the film stars Adam Pearson, a performer familiar both for his scene-stealing turn in “Under the Skin” and for a condition called neurofibromatosis, which covers his face in tumors.
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