The six best movies we saw at the 2024 Cannes Film Festival

In a main competition light on laughs, Sean Baker’s uproarious firecracker of a romantic-action-crime comedy, starring Mikey Madison (“Better Things”) as a stripper who becomes embroiled in a Russian family drama, landed like the left hook I never knew I always wanted. When an oligarch’s high-rolling 21-year-old son (Mark Eydelshteyn) patronizes her club, Anora (Madison) winds up as his companion for the night — and, not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, turns that night into something more permanent. At least until his disapproving parents catch wind of it and the film suddenly catches fire, shifting gears with an enthralling, madcap set piece reminiscent of “Midnight Run” or “Something Wild.” Careening like a pinball through the Russian American enclaves of Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay, Baker draws a host of comic characters as briskly and precisely as a punch-up guy, including a trio of heavies you won’t soon forget. And as the center — or is it cause? — of the maelstrom, Madison brilliantly adds her stamp to the “tough broad” archetype, replete with fighting spirit, foul mouth and unparalleled negotiating skills. The effect of it all is so electric, it’s liable to leave you levitating. — Matt Brennan

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