(director/writer: Sean Baker; cinematographer: Drew Daniels; editor: Sean Baker; music: Matthew Hearon-Smith; cast: Mikey Madison (Ani), Mark Eydelshteyn (Ivan), Ivy Wolk (Crystal), Yura Borisov (Igor), Karren Karagulian (Toros), Vache Tovmasyan (Garnick); Runtime: 139; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Samantha Quan, Alex Coco, Sean Baker; Cre Film, Neon; 2024-in English and some Russian)

“It’s an edgy comedy that has a great performance by Mikey Madison, as it stares down class exploitation.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Sean Baker (“Red Rocket”/”The Florida Project”) has a trip filming this dark comedy about worker distress that somehow has a soft landing.

Anora is called Ani (Mikey Madison). She’s a 23-year-old Russian-American stripper, lap dancer and sex worker, who lives with her sister in the Brighton Beach section of Brooklyn. Through her grandmother learned to speak enough Russian so she can converse in it.

Mom lives in Miami, and dad is not around. On an impulse, while partying in Las Vegas, she marries one of her high roller lap dance customers in the Manhattan strip club where she works, the spoiled-brat Ivan (Mark Eydelshteyn). He’s a hedonistic 21-year-old billionaire who is the son of a Russian oligarch. He lives in his father’s mansion in Brooklyn. His parents live in Moscow. They have a fit when they hear about the marriage and come to NY to annul the marriage.

Their idea of annulment is to send three goons-Toros (Karren Karagulian) and his two daffy minions, the accident-prone Garnick (Vache Tovmaysa) and the bald-headed Igor (Yura Borisov)- to throw her out of the house. Ivan’s reaction is to run away out of fear. When Ivan is not there, the four of them unite to find him before his parents arrive the next day. The goons give Ani 10, 000 dollars for her help.

That night while in pursuit of Ivan, they follow him to Coney Island and then to the meat racks of Manhattan. The wild night involves drugs, a crashed tow truck and a stripper brawl. 

It’s an edgy comedy that has a great performance by Mikey Madison, as it stares down class exploitation.
It played at the Cannes Film Festival.