Sanctuary (2023)

Sanctuary (2023)

An ingenious blend of erotic thriller and dark comedy with a once-in-a-lifetime performance by Margaret Qualley

The Very Best



France, United States of America
Comedy, Drama, Romance, Thriller
Christopher Abbott, Margaret Qualley
96 min


Absolutely depraved stuff that only the worst people would like (it's me, I'm the worst people).

What it's about

After the heir to a hotel chain ends his business relationship with a young woman who services him as a dominatrix, the two become locked into a psychological battle of wills.

The take

Challenging, strange, and utterly captivating from start to finish, Sanctuary takes the relationship between a pathetic, wealthy man and a desperate, plucky young woman—a relationship built on consensual acts of sexual humiliation—and makes it so much more dynamic and entertaining than it has any right to be. The film takes place entirely in one hotel suite over the course of one night, becoming a series of increasingly absurd psychological scenarios, as the characters wrestle over ideas of power, shame, and identity by concealing and roleplaying various parts of themselves. It's a wild take on several different genres that director Zachary Wigon is able to effortlessly weave together with excellent pacing, stunning visuals, and two truly committed performances from Christopher Abbott and a wonderfully unhinged Margaret Qualley.

What stands out

It'll never happen because the Academy seems to be allergic to films like this, but Margaret Qualley deserves to be leading any early conversations about who should win Best Actress next. This is a role that demands so much from a performer, requiring them to stretch to several different extremes while still remaining cunning and threatening, but never devolving into a caricature of themselves. And throughout Sanctuary, Qualley masterfully piles one layer of performance on top of another, resulting in a completely three-dimensional character whom you're never sure you can totally trust—but one whose every facet (even the false ones) seem totally authentic.


loved this movie. It doesn’t go too deep but is still able to stay interesting throughout. If you like something that is taken in one setting with minimal characters and at the same time then this is for you. would give it a 6.5/10 and would definitely watch it again

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