Anora review: "Another hugely enjoyable ride from Sean Baker"

(Image: © Focus Features)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Funny, sharp, involving and featuring high-decibel performances, this is another hugely enjoyable ride from Sean Baker.

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Anora had its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival. Here's our review... 

Writer/director Sean Baker (The Florida Project, Red Rocket) takes another walk on the wild side with this no-holds-barred comedy-drama. Anora, or Ani (Mikey Madison) as she prefers to be called, is a Brooklyn lap dancer who gets embroiled with Ivan (Mark Eydelshteyn), the brattish son of an oligarch who’s partying like there’s no tomorrow before he has to return to Russia. 

Ivan hires Ani to be his ‘girlfriend’ for the week; they get on famously and he proposes, albeit partly so he can stay in the States. Hopping over to Vegas, the pair get married, but as soon as Ivan’s parents find out, trouble erupts. 

Enter Ivan’s dad’s fixer Toros (Karren Karagulian) and two goons, Igor (Yuri Borisov) and Garnik (Vache Tovmasyan), who try to force the spirited Ani into an annulment. Things get even crazier as Ivan does a runner and the others are forced to scour the seedier side of town, trying to find him before his parents arrive from Russia. Needless to say, Ani’s fairy tale is in serious danger of turning sour. 

Despite an increasingly hysterical second act, as Ani fends off Igor and Garnik, Baker controls the narrative with real aplomb, crafting a time-bomb mix of physical comedy and high drama. Better still, the final third alights on real pathos: with Ani left to fight her corner, Baker delivers a sly commentary on the self-entitlement of the rich and powerful. Principally driven by the electric Madison (Once Upon a Time in Hollywood), Anora is a robust look at the haves and have nots and the gulf in between.

Anora's release date is currently TBC. For more upcoming movies, here's our guide to 2024 movie release dates.

Freelance writer

James Mottram is a freelance film journalist, author of books that dive deep into films like Die Hard and Tenet, and a regular guest on the Total Film podcast. You'll find his writings on GamesRadar+ and Total Film, and in newspapers and magazines from across the world like The Times, The Independent, The i, Metro, The National, Marie Claire, and MindFood.