Lady J was such a great surprise for me to see. I was not expecting to like this movie and I had not heard of it before streaming it on Netflix, but I loved it. This movie was filled with beautiful, over-the-top, ornate sets and costume design, with intricacies that made almost every scene fit to be painted. It also had a great soundtrack that fit the genre but was not boring. My favorite feature of Lady J was how the likability of the characters changed throughout the movie. The screenwriting and directing, of course, accomplished that, but I also saw difference in the slight mannerisms of the actors that changed with their likability changes. Since I cannot understand the spoken language, the non-verbals were very important for my understanding of the characters. Each main character was both good and bad and most acts are framed as both good and bad. My perception of who was the hero/villain, who was as the protagonist/antagonist, flawlessly ebbed between the characters and themes. Most of the characters are likable at some point, and all have some good personality traits, but throughout the movie almost all of them do morally wrong, or downright creepy or cruel, things. There seems to be something in Lady J for everyone- it's beautiful to view, fun to hear the French language and musical score, filled with compelling and realistic characters (albeit rushed in terms of character development), and overflowing with meaningful themes about societal themes and interpersonal relationships. Lady J seemed to embrace and push past the cliches of its genre to touch on human nature, the complexities of relationships, and the inherent tensions and corruptions resulting from inequality (sex, age, financial, influence, religion) and self-centeredness (delusion, self-aggrandizement, callousness, vigilante justice, lack of introspection, pride). I'm not sure how those who made this movie managed to do so, but this movie left me with renewed belief in humanity. The value of connection to other people and society and of connection to a transcendent sense of morality, justice, and emotion across humankind reveals itself throughout the movie through the failures of the characters to connect and the messy process that results from the lack of true connection to each other and humankind.
The ending is a good one, depending on which character you ask!