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France, Belgium, United States · 2018
Rated R · 1h 36m
Director Gaspar Noé
Starring Sofia Boutella, Kiddy Smile, Romain Guillermic, Souheila Yacoub
Genre Drama, Horror, Music

Young dancers gather in a remote and empty school building to rehearse on a cold and wintry night. With many personalities at play, there are already tensions among the group. The all-night celebration soon turns into a hallucinatory nightmare when they learn that their sangria is laced with LSD.

Stream Climax

What are people saying?

Cait Mohr Profile picture for Cait Mohr

To say Climax was a bad trip is tantamount to saying that the Donner Party was a friendly cookout. More anxiety-inducing and nightmarish than Aronofsky’s Mother! (2017) sans the heavy-handed allegory, Climax is a hysterical, depraved look at the black hole of drug-induced psychosis and the complete disintegration of the self (and I say this as a compliment). While surprisingly tame for a Noe film (which isn’t saying much), this would definitely have to be my favorite of his in light of the emotionally disjointed, practically alien performances of the dancers and the gradual build-up of the psychedelic terror into a fever-pitch of misery.

Hannah Eliot Profile picture for Hannah Eliot

This is a Noé film, so it's obviously disturbing, but still much easier to digest than "Irreversible," for example. Noé never loosens his grip on the viewer's attention or the tension, and he beautifully blends his own craft with a terrifying sense of freedom, allowing for a very naturalistic and human film.

Summer Goldstein Profile picture for Summer Goldstein

Surreal, chaotic, nightmarish, entrancing, head-hurting, unsettling, upsetting – the list goes on and on. The characters, the narrative, and the camera all move through their own incredibly choreographed dances.

What are critics saying?


New York Magazine (Vulture) by Emily Yoshida

I was shocked to discover that I was actually … touched. Climax is a small miracle, and if this is Noé going soft (for him, of course), that might actually be a very good thing for the movies.


IndieWire by Eric Kohn

Gaspar Noé’s remarkable psychedelic ride is his most focused achievement, a concise package of sizzling dance sequences and jolting developments that play like a slick mashup of the “Step Up” franchise and “Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom,” not to mention the disorienting cinematic trickery of Noé’s own provocative credits.


The Film Stage by Giovanni Marchini Camia

It’s all insane and intoxicating, and what’s perhaps most remarkable is that, ultimately, the ugliness and excess is legitimized by being in the service of an elaborate and ecstatically realized celebration of dancing as an art form.


The Playlist by Jessica Kiang

This is exhaustingly exhibitionist cinema, that wants to be looked at for the sake of being looked at — for the crispness of its moves, not the complexity of its concepts, and that can get wearying after a while.


Screen International by Jonathan Romney

You may emerge from Climax, as from a full-on club night, feeling shattered and asking yourself what was the point of it all. But there’s no denying the mastery of Noé and his team, and the extravagant talent of his cast.


Variety by Owen Gleiberman

Climax works, at least when it’s willing to be a human drama. But then it sinks in that you’re watching “Fame” directed by the Marquis de Sade with a Steadicam.


The Guardian by Peter Bradshaw

It is as if Noé has somehow mulched up the quintessence of dance, coke and porn together and squooshed it into his camera. If that sounds horrible, then yes it is, but also, often, demonically inspired.


The Telegraph by Robbie Collin

Noé has created a churning, repellent, wildly sexy tanztheaterwerk of pure Boschian decadence and derangement. It’s nice to have him back.


The Hollywood Reporter by Todd McCarthy

Pairing his usual boundary-pushing sex-and-drugs fixation with a vital presentation of wildly exuberant dance and movement, Gaspar Noe has made a film that’s seductive in its rhythms and bold visualization of his young dancers’ sometimes beautiful, other times brutal somatic expressiveness.

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