A bereft young man befriends a lobotomist.
“More times than I can count, I have thanked the movie gods for Jeff Goldblum,” said Jeannette Catsoulis in The New York Times. The loquacious actor “can lighten almost any project,” even this “adamantly depressive” yet mesmerizing drama about a 1950s celebrity lobotomist who, with a young assistant, travels the country looking for new patients. The assistant, Andy, is the story’s true protagonist, said David Sims in The Atlantic, and Tye Sheridan makes him “as passive as a protagonist can get.” He is a study in alienation who becomes our eyes on an America “at its most self-confident and horrifying.” The movie doesn’t always work, but the scenes featuring Goldblum are “genuinely enrapturing.” Andy identifies with the prospective lobotomy patients to a disturbing degree, and the film “accumulates a sense of dread as it progresses, subtly fraying its own sense of reality as Andy’s mind deteriorates,” said Dan Schindel in Hyperallergic.com. The movie will try viewers’ patience, but “it is rare that a film so acutely captures the numbness of total estrangement. For anyone who can recognize this kind of melancholy, it might be a dark catharsis.” ■