Cat Person

Verdict: Cat Person puts a psychological thriller spin on the viral short story about the perils of modern dating.

Margot gives her number to a much older man named Robert and he doesn’t respond well when she decides to call things off.

Kristen Roupenian’s short story, Cat Person, went viral after it was published in The New Yorker in 2017 so it was only a matter of time before we got a movie adaptation.

The movie, written by Michelle Ashford, tells the story of Margot (Emilia Jones), a 20-year-old college student who gives her number to a much older guy named Robert (Nicholas Braun) during one of her shifts at the local arthouse cinema.

They strike up a text relationship while Margot is away at home and she develops a crush on virtual Robert – but when they eventually meet up in person, the real Robert does not match up to the version she had imagined.

After she follows through with the date, Margot swiftly ditches Robert – but he doesn’t respond well to her sudden change of heart.

The movie is very loyal to Roupenian’s fictional short story in terms of the narrative beats, the dialogue and the on-screen text conversations. But, of course, it also needed to expand upon the characters and Margot’s world and extend the story further.

The source material ends just after Margot call things off with Robert and the movie’s narrative goes much further beyond that, taking the idea to a significantly darker place.

Cat Person, the movie, captures the unease and awkwardness of the short story but also turns the premise into an unsettling and sinister psychological thriller, with Margot suffering from scary dreams and becoming paranoid that Robert is a crazy stalker.

While Braun – Cousin Greg in Succession – doesn’t look like Robert from the short story, he achieves the delicate balance of being an awkward, unusual guy or possibly a psycho.

The short story left you wondering if Robert was just a normal guy hurting from being rejected or if he was super insecure and jealous person.

The film takes the question further – is he just seeking closure and an explanation or is he actually stalking her? It delivers a direct answer to that and perhaps it would have been more effective if it had let our imaginations work it out.

Jones, who broke out with the Oscar-winning film CODA, does a solid job as Margot and Geraldine Viswanathan steals all of her scenes as Margot’s best friend Taylor.

Cat Person might not be perfect but it takes a relatable and alarming look at the perils of modern dating.

In cinemas from Friday 27th October.

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