Emerald Fennell is back, and this time she’s not just Barbie’s pregnant friend. Following her Academy Award-winning debut film, Promising Young Woman, Fennell returns behind the camera with Saltburn, a millennial (and Millennial) film about Oliver, a young man invited to stay at his school chum’s sumptuous country house for the summer. It’s shades of Brideshead Revisited, for sure, but I’m also getting a flavor of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History and so-called “dark academia” genre stylings. 


The film stars Barry Keoghan as Oliver, and Jacob Elordi as his rich, homoerotic school chum, Felix Catton. This trailer prompted me to google Jacob Elordi for the first time in my life because I only know him from Euphoria—and as Sofia Coppola’s upcoming Elvis—and just assumed he’s American based on his performance. It turns out, he’s neither American nor English but Australian! Jacob Elordi might be a better actor than I have previously credited him, his accent work is VERY good. Still feel bad that he has to follow Austin Butler as Elvis, though.

Saltburn also stars Archie Madekwe, Rosamund Pike in full bitch mode—her best mode—Richard E. Grant, and Paul Rhys as the Cattons’ butler. If I knocked on my rich friend’s country estate door and Paul Rhys answered it as the butler, I would immediately make my excuses and leave. Look at that guy. That is a butler who poisons people for fun and profit. Carey Mulligan is supposedly in this film, too, but it must be a small part, because she’s not in the trailer.


I’m sure a lot of people will get hung up on the 2000s style of the film and lamenting that we’re already far enough into the millennium to make nostalgia pieces for the 2000s, but I am hung up on Oliver looking for a doorbell at the entrance of Felix’s ancestral pile, the titular Saltburn. What a detail! What a great piece of business! Do we need Archie Madekwe’s bitchy intonation of “it’s a rental” to understand the class differences at play? No! We just need to see Oliver looking for a doorbell on an undoubtedly centuries-old estate to get that He Does Not Belong. Anyway, who do you think gets murdered during this one crazy summer at Felix Catton’s bigass house with his obviously deranged family?