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High Life

The strange, haunting meditation on life, death, sex, and existence, set in outer space, is currently in theaters.

Alissa Wilkinson covers film and culture for Vox. Alissa is a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics.

Metacritic score: 76

High Life is a wild, visionary film from director Claire Denis about a group of convicts on death row who are sent into deep space for the sake of science. It’s not for the faint of heart — it’s about sex and reproduction and death and life — and it’s anything but sterile. In this case, sci-fi’s enduring quest to probe what it means to be human means that bodily fluids, violence, and deep loneliness all make their appearances.

Robert Pattinson leads a cast that also features Mia Goth and Juliette Binoche, and gives a performance that’s equal parts unexpected and tender, as a father on board the ship caring for his young daughter in what is essentially a life lived as a death sentence. All told, the film is a confounding meditation on what it means to truly exist — and it’s wholly original.