I'm not sure if the overture was supposed to be that earspiercingly shrill, or just that the machinist was too old to hear the higher frequencies, but the beginning is way too loud for comfort. Perhaps intentionally done, though: it's not supposed to be comforting as this is a film about a child who grows up to become a dictator.
I have a hard time empathising with the main characters. Even Bérénice Bejo fails to fill me with awe, and the only decent one around is the boy's tutor.
An absent father and a less than understanding mother surely shouldn't be enough to turn a child into a ruthless despot, and we definitely never find out how neglecting the boy helps him become a competent, if albeit evil, leader.
It's eerie, though, and it has its moments. I just had hoped for the film to reach its full potential.
Passed the Bechdel test
2 dresses of 6