Triangle of Sadness – TIFF 2022

Triangle of Sadness

Triangle of Sadness – TIFF 2022

Ruben Östlund’s latest Palme d’Or–winning satire explores hypocrisy, greed, and thirst for power amongst the idle rich (and the luxury-cruise industry).

A luxury cruise goes horribly awry in . Carl () and Yaya () are two models in a highly volatile relationship who embark on a luxury cruise. Crew leader Paula () tries to ensure the passengers are happy, while The Captain () spends most of the trip in a drunk stupor in his cabin. However, it isn't until the passengers gather one stormy night for the Captain's dinner that the journey starts to go to Hell.

Triangle of Sadness, named for the spot on the forehead botox is injected into, is a satire written and directed by Ruben Östlund (Force Majeure), which won the Palme d'Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. While the film features an ensemble cast that includes Woody Harrelson, (the Pusher trilogy), and Vicki Berlin, the primary focus is on Harris Dickinson (The King's Man) and the late Charlbi Dean as young models Carl and Yaya, who find themselves on this luxury cruise as a result of the latter's status as a social media influencer. Carl and Yaya are the focus of the first of Triangle of Sadness‘ three parts, with the cruise making up part two. I will like to talk a bit about the third part of the film, which despite already having been revealed in the marketing, will necessitate a spoiler warning.


In a sequence that is arguably the highlight of Triangle of Sadness, all Hell breaks loose aboard the yacht when food poisoning results in mass sea sickness and projectile vomiting, as well as a drunken debate between the Marxist Captain and “Russian capitalist” Dimitry (Zlatko Buric). This sequence leads to part three, where the ship has sunk due to a pirate attack, and only a handful of survivors are left to fend for themselves on an island. This includes Carl, Yaya, Paula, and Dimitry. However, the true star of part three is Filipina actress as Abigail. She was formerly the housekeeper aboard the yacht but leveraged her survival skills and control of the lifeboat and supplies into a leadership position.

Part three of Triangle of Sadness hammers home of satire of the film, where the formerly wealthy and elite passengers of this yacht find the power dynamics flipped, as they now have to look towards the former servant for help and leadership, with a little bit of “The Lord of the Flies” tribalism thrown in for good measure. This all leads toward a very ironic and ambiguous ending.

Altogether, Triangle of Sadness is an incredibly entertaining satire about elite privilege. While the two and half hour film does peak at the end of the second part, there is still a lot to like in the third part of the film.

Trailer for Triangle of Sadness – TIFF 2022

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.