The Coen Brothers are among the preeminent contemporary American filmmakers, and they’ve probably broken up. Their last collaborative effort was 2018’s Netflix movie, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, which is pretty good—the Coens don’t really do “bad”—but was not as good as their previous film, Hail, Caesar! (genuinely great).
In 2021, Joel Coen went full arthouse Shakespeare with The Tragedy of Macbeth, and now Ethan Coen is giving us his first solo effort this year with the lesbian crime caper, Drive-Away Dolls.
The film stars Margaret Qualley and the always fantastic Geraldine Viswanathan—Miracle Workers season four is FINALLY premiering on July 10—as an unlikely maybe-couple on a road trip to Florida. They inadvertently get involved in crime, and hijinks ensue. Grimy crime is the Coens’ bread and butter, but right away you can feel unfettered Ethan here. Dolls has a sleazy edge that suits the bottom-feeder class of criminals on display, and Florida, but it’s got poppy colors and a more blatantly comedic tone that recalls earlier Coen works like Raising Arizona, though it wouldn’t be a Coen film, even a solo Coen film, if there isn’t some darkness tucked away somewhere.
I am SUPER interested to see what Ethan does on his own, though I would like to ask him a couple questions about Margaret Qualley’s accent. For instance, where, exactly, is she supposed to be from, and is there a reason she’s Southern, or is it just that everyone thinks Southern accents are inherently funny? I get bored of actors using Southern accents because their characters are supposed to be kooky and/or dumb (Actors Don’t Use Southern Accents Unless Your Character Explicitly Requires It Challenge). I hope there is an actual explanation for this accent, and it wasn’t just a “quirky” choice. Other than that, I am down for Ethan Coen’s crime caper with Margaret and Geraldine.
Here is Margaret Qualley in New York yesterday, sporting her engagement ring from Jack Antonoff.