La Chimera Is A Simple Structureless Meditation on Loneliness

Josh O'Connor and Carol Duarte in La Chimera.

With La Chimera, writer/director Alice Rohrwacher creates a meditation about loneliness after loss and the search for catharsis.


In La Chimera, while wondering through Europe, a recent widower Arthur (Josh O’Connor) becomes entailed with a group of tomb raiders. All to find a way to reunite with his deceased wife, Beniamina.

La chimera Has strutureless vibes

Josh O'Connor, Ramona Florini, Giuliano Mantovani on a tractor in La Chimera
Josh O’Connor, Ramona Florini, and Giuliano Mantovani in La Chimera. Courtesy of Neon.

With La Chimera, writer/director Alice Rohrwacher creates a meditation about loneliness after loss and the search for catharsis. This is complete through Director of Photography Helene Louvart’s cinematography. Which displays a naturalistic view of the beaches and outskirts of Europe. Additionally, the film uses non-diegetic sound courtesy of sound designer Xavier Lavorel. This allows the film to exhibit a sense of realism.

While also dealing with the afterlife. And speaking of the afterlife, Rohrwacher’s screenplay brings out the surreal nature of the story. By which results in La Chimera, having a dream-like quality to it. Unfortunately, this leaves the film structureless until the second half. It also devotes the film of any traditional conventions. Now, if there would be any type of film that would be structureless, it would be this one.

However, the lack of structure does leave the film in search of an identity for a majority of its run time. But, the lack of an identity allows the film to focus on its themes. Namely, on grief, loss, and loneliness. We see this as the main character Arthur (O’Connor) as for the first half, he’s with people. Masking all of the pain of losing his wife with booze and tomb raiding, However, in the second half of the film, he’s alone. Stuck between wandering in the land of the living and the land of the dead. The film also explores the idea of trying to find your purpose after loss.

Performances in la chimera

Carol Duarte and Isabella Rosselini talking in La Chimera
Carol Duarte and Isabella Rosselini in La Chimera. Courtesy of Neon.

When it comes to the cast, they all deliver good, naturalistic performances. Starting with Josh O’Connor, his take on the character Arthur, is understated. O’Connor balances solemness with sorrow. This allows for O’Connor to express his emotions with his eyes. Though, a part of the need to do this, is due to the script’s lack of dialogue. Despite that, his chemistry with Carol Duarte’s Italia is very realistic. This is where O’Connor shines the most.

Speaking of Durate, she winds up being the film’s standout performance. Duarte balances being strong, curious, and vulnerable at the same time. And manages to succeed at being all three emotions. Especially when paired with O’Connor. Finally, there’s Isabella Rossellini, who has a good rapport with O’Connor. However, there is a situation involving Duarte’s Italia and the way Rossellini’s character Flora handles it. Feels very much out of character. And it feels like something out of a different film.


Josh O'Connor and Carol Duarte walking together in La Chimera
Josh O’Connor and Carol Duarte in La Chimera. Courtesy of Neon.

Overall, La Chimera is an interesting meditation in loneliness and the search for catharsis. Which is purely achieved due to Louvert’s naturalistic cinematography. But, a pitfall of this is the lack of structure to Rohrwacher’s script. Despite playing with such heavy themes, they never come out to a solid resolution within the story. As for the cast, O’Connor, Duarte, and Rossellini, are able to deliver good performances. However, this is recommended to see on the big screen. Just don’t go in expecting a story or even a traditional structure.

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