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Cat Person (Film Review)

3 min read

Courtesy of StudioCanal

This piece was written during the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strikes. Without the labour of the actors currently on strike, the movie being covered here wouldn't exist.

Dating can provide some of the most ridiculous, excruciating, and horrific stories. There are endless possibilities where dating stories can take you and Cat Person is both just one in a million and a story that really nails down the intricate thoughts and feelings one can feel in the moment. The flirtatious beginning to the absolute insane climatic end, Cat Person explores the paranoia that comes with dating and the gut instinct that something is just not quite right.

College student Margot meets Robert, an older guy, at the cinema where she works. They start texting, fun and flirty messages and she is soon attached, despite a few odd moments with him. Her best friend, and near recluse, Taylor, thinks there's something not quite right with Robert. However, Margot still decides to continue the relationship. But soon things take a turn, causing Margot to sink into paranoia, believing she is isn't safe.

Courtesy of Studiocanal

Based on the ‘sensational' short story of the same by , we are unsettled from the very beginning, just like the story. Robert and Margot are obviously attracted to each other. There is chemistry over texts, but in person it's an unnerving experience. Margot feels on edge yet she keeps texting Robert and even agrees to a date she's not excited for. She has a couple of drinks and agrees to go back to his. We are always presented with her version of Robert, her interpretation of what he says, her ideals of what he could be feeling. After she ends things and we are invited to her paranoid journey, it becomes overwhelming. Margot shifts further into the unreliable narrator, making it difficult to see any other scenario other than what she thinks. Only at the end do we get a glimpse into what Robert has been thinking, but this is a short-lived realisation as the ending descends into madness. Compared to the rest of the film, the ending is extreme and completely contrasts with the slow tension filled lead up, but it is an unexpected one.

Courtesy of Studiocanal

Cat Person is incredibly uncomfortable, even during the so called ‘nice' moments, as there is always a sense that something bad will eventually happen. We become sucked into Margot's paranoia and start to believe what she believes. Taylor is both a harbinger and an enabler, and exacerbates the situation for Margot, causing even more problems. Taylor's own issues are only explored surface deep, but if we delve deeper there's probably an actual reason why she doesn't go out or interact with people outside her online forum. Margot and Taylor end up feeding into each other's insecurities, which could be seen as the real reason why Margot has a breakdown, deciding that she can only feel safe if she knows where Robert is at all times.

Even though Cat Person has an unsettling, uncomfortable tone throughout, the darker and more comedic moments are a welcome break, even for a second. Sometimes you'll find yourself laughing out of nervousness for the characters on screen or because you know all too well how things will play out. The mixed into the story somehow makes the film feel more relatable. It's a conversation starter that makes you squirm in your seat, but it could still make one hell of date movie.

Cat Person is released in cinemas across the U.K. and Ireland on 27th October 2023