Claire Denis’ erotic thriller ‘Stars at Noon’

Claire Denis’ erotic thriller ‘Stars at Noon’

Claire Denis's new film, starring Margaret Qualley, is a captivating adaptation of Denis Johnson's novel. The film treads familiar territory in a foreign land, and Qualley's performance is mesmerizing.


Claire Denis's adaptation of "The Stars at Noon," based on the 1986 novel by Denis Johnson, features many of the same elements she often explores in her films - colonialism, dislocation, and the difficulties of perception. While the film is not without its flaws, it is clear that Denis is a master of her craft, able to evoke sensuality, power, and emotion through light and shadow.


The film was selected to compete for the Palme d'Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Grand Prix. It was released in the United States by A24 on October 14, 2022.

A stranded American journalist falls for an enigmatic Englishman who may be in even greater danger than she is. Adapted from Denis Johnson's novel, this story follows Margaret Qualley as she tries to make her way out of Nicaragua while also trying to keep Joe Alwyn safe.

“Stars at Noon” is more like a movie version of Peter Weir's novel, "The Year of Living Dangerously." It has the same foreign-correspondent intrigue and drive-by view of local turmoil.

The looks that Trish gets from the bartenders and cab drivers - half patient and half weary - are maybe a little bit wry. She's beautiful, but she's also a very ugly American, and the movie seems to be fascinated, appalled and electrified by Qualley's mercurial performance.

Denis, who has devoted a great deal of her time and effort into thinking about and getting rid of the white colonialist perspective, may have actually made a more truthful movie. This is because "Stars at Noon" does not try to act like it is any more politically aware or concerned than its careless main characters.

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