John Waters thinks this thriller is 2024’s best movie so far. Is he right?

John Waters poses at an event.
Wikipedia Commons

What’s the first image that comes to mind when you hear the name John Waters? Well, besides that. (If you’ve never seen or heard of the 1972 movie Pink Flamingos, well, you’re missing out.) You’d probably think about the pink satin cockroach dress Ricki Lake wore in the 1988 film Hairspray, or then-heartthrob Johnny Depp crying one single, perfect tear in 1990’s Cry-Baby. But a lesser-known but still impressive accomplishment the underground filmmaker has earned over the years is that he’s of one of our country’s best critics.

That’s right, the self-proclaimed “Prince of Puke” actually has great taste in movies, and frequently shares his list of his top 10 favorite films in a particular year. Last year, Waters proclaimed the divisive surrealist comedy Beau Is Afraid as the year’s best, with Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer and the Pedro Almodóvar Western Strange Way of Life earning spots on his coveted list.

A bloody woman leans next to a door in Love Lies Bleeding.

2024 may be only five months old, but Waters has already picked his favorite of the year … well, so far: Love Lies Bleeding. In an interview with Mashable, the director said that “as harrowing as it is tender, as horny as it is horrifying, Love Lies Bleeding is one of the best films of 2024.”

The Kristen Stewart crime thriller was released in early March to ecstatic reviews but muted box office, and is now available on VOD. Waters has been spot-on before, but he’s also been off; I hated Beau Is Afraid, and still think it deserves to be on the list of worst movies of 2023.

Two women look at each other in Love Lies Bleeding.

I’ve watched Love Lies Bleeding, and I agree with the Puke Prince — it’s a crackerjack movie, one that is fun to watch and great to mull over after you’ve watched it. Stewart turns a career-best performance as Lou, a gym manager who finds an unlikely lover in aspiring bodybuilder Jackie. In movies like this, however, love is bound with trouble, and that comes in the form off JJ, Lou’s skeezy brother-in-law who pulls the two women into a web of lies, infidelity, and murder.

And that’s all the plot I’m going to reveal. The less you know, the better, as one of Love Lies Bleeding‘s main pleasures is watching how the director, Rose Glass, expertly builds suspense, romance, and drama from a plot that is both simple and complicated. The ending is a gonzo delight, at once both absurd and perfectly logical, and you’ll be wondering what it all means days, weeks, and months later. Now that‘s a good movie.

Love Lies Bleeding | Official Trailer HD | A24

But don’t take my word for it; take Waters’ enthusiastic recommendation, too. He knows a thing or two about great films, having created a few of them himself, and he sees a bit of genius in this nifty little movie set in the American desert. If you’re a fan of crime thrillers like Blood Simple, or just a fan of good movies in general, check out Love Lies Bleeding now.

Love Lies Bleeding is available to rent or purchase on Amazon Prime Video.