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New Film The Substance Makes Waves at Cannes Film Festival

New Film The Substance Makes Waves at Cannes Film Festival

still of demi moore in new release The Substance

Coralie Fargeats The Substance earned a standing ovation at this year’s Cannes Film Festival. This is director Fargeat’s second film, but first to premiere at the festival.

Starring Margaret Qualley and Demi Moore, the film follows TV fitness instructor Elisabeth Sparkle as her showrunner tries to replace her with a younger, more favored model. To save her career, Sparkle tries a new product “the substance” to create a new, younger version of herself, whom she names Sue, played by Margaret Qualley. Sparkle hopes this new drug will revitalize her career but finds that the process is more complex than it seems. The catch: both Sparkle, and her new younger self, Sue, have to share their time in the spotlight, alternating places from week to week. As young Sue begins to flourish in the spotlight, Sparkle and Sue develop a rivalry that threatens them both.


Similar to her first film Revenge, The Substance is also a horror movie. Described as a feminist body horror, the film captured audiences at Cannes, allegedly earning a 13-minute-long standing ovation. Critics have praised Fargeat’s expert sense of direction as well as Moore’s astonishing performance. 

The film has been coined the most talked about from Cannes, premiering alongside other new films including Ali Abbasi’s The Apprentice, which follows the early career of former President Donald Trump. 

Still from The Substance
The Substance has been described as feminist body horror and has become the most talked about film at this year’s festival.


Earning a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes, critics have praised The Substance for its visceral imagery, candid storytelling and rich metaphors. As the two women battle for attention, the similarities between them become glaring. Fargeat uses the two women — who are essentially the same person — to open a conversation about the devaluation of women as they age, and the societal expectations to constantly maintain appearances, especially youth.

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@brutamerica

At @FestivaldeCannes, Demi Moore was asked when she felt cancelled by her age. Here’s what she said… #Cannes2024

♬ son original – Brut.

The film is not yet available to viewers, and it might be a while until audiences have the opportunity to view Fargeat’s highly praised new release. From the film’s first looks, viewers can expect a gory, shocking and ambitiously bold screening.

Until its public release, audiences can anxiously await the ability to view this already critically acclaimed film — if they have the stomach for it. 

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