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HBO Max’s Kimi Reviews Have Arrived, See What Critics Are Saying About The Zoë Kravitz Thriller

Zoe Kravitz in HBO Max's Kimi
(Image credit: HBO Max)

2022 is a big year for Mad Max: Fury Road alum Zoë Kravitz. In addition to playing Selina Kyle/Catwoman in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, film fans will get to see her beforehand leading the thriller Kimi, which drops on HBO Max tomorrow. For those of you curious about how Kravitz’s new movie was received among critics, the first Kimi reviews have arrived.

Before we get into the early critical reception surrounding Kimi, for those unfamiliar with latest of the HBO Max movies, it’s set in Seattle during the COVID-19 pandemic and stars Zoë Kravitz as Angela Childs, an agoraphobic “voicestream interpreter” for the KIMI virtual assistant her company created. When Angela discovers evidence of a violent crime and is met with resistance from her company when trying to report it, she must face her greatest fear and venture out into the world. Unfortunately, this coincides with the streets being filled with people protesting a new law limiting the movements of the homeless population, and Angela will also have to deal with some surprising threats.

With the premise out of the way, let’s delve into how Kimi is being received. Starting off, CinemaBlend’s own Sarah El-Mahmoud wasn’t terribly impressed with Kimi, as evidenced by the 2.5 out of 5 stars in her review. She was impressed by Zoë Kravitz’s turn as Angela, but feel that the movie directed by No Sudden Move’s Steven Soderbergh and written by Jurassic Park’s David Koepp makes for a “mundane thriller.” 

With a director like Soderbergh, who has such a massive filmography, it’s rare for this kind of talent to go back to basics and make a more intimate project. For fans of the filmmaker, Kimi is ultimately a solid reminder of his talent; it’s just a shame the script isn’t stronger. 

On the more positive end of the spectrum, The Playlist’s Jason Bailey awarded the movie an A-, saying that Angela is one of Zoë Kravitz’s “meatiest roles” yet, and also complimented the supporting cast, the story, the sound design and much more.

… The film’s tacit and explicit acknowledgments of not only the pandemic (a too rare occurrence in new movies) but its psychological fallout remind us of Contagion, [Steven Soderbergh’s fictional exploration of such an event, over a decade ago. This one summons up a similar sense of dread and doom, but on a much smaller scale, and if the final beat feels a bit too neat and tidy, well, what the hell, they’ve earned it.

Next, Siddhant Adlakha from IGN stamped Kimi with an 8 out of 10 score, saying how the movie does an excellent job laying out the “physical, emotional, and narrative details.” Adlakha called Kimi “fun at every step of the way,” from its “delightfully calculated setups” to the “wildly inventive chase scenes that play like an aesthetic malfunction.”

Kimi, the latest digital experiment from Steven Soderbergh, plunges the technological thriller into a COVID-19 world in a way that’s entertaining and intriguing all the way through.

Slashfilm’s Chris Evangelista from was also pleased with Kimi, giving it a 7 out of 10 score. Evangelista was especially impressed with Steven Soderbergh’s cinematography, namely how the camera angles become “tilted and disorienting” once Zoë Kravitz’s Angela is outside of her apartment, and also praised how “refreshing” it was the filmmaker kept the story “relatively simple.”

Yes, the plot grows more elaborate and fantastical, but the film itself has its feet firmly on the ground, and Soderbergh seems solely committed to giving us a quick, mid-budget, ultra-sturdy thriller with no pretensions — the type Hollywood doesn't really make anymore. This isn't the best or even most-memorable film on Soderbergh's resume, but it is a film that does exactly what it sets out to do.

Finally, David Ehrlich from Indiewire graded Kimi with a B, commending the movie for how it “embodies the pandemic’s twin pangs of isolation and agoraphobia.” Although Ehrlich felt that Kimi was “a bit slow out of the gate,” it eventually hits its stride and provides a pulse-pounding second act, and the move as a while makes for a “slender 89-minute headrush.”

Steven Soderbergh’s Kimi is a simple but satisfying genre exercise that uses its agoraphobic heroine to ask what people are supposed to do with their paranoia now that virtually everything is out in the open.

These are just some of the Kimi reviews out now, so feel free to look elsewhere on the internet to see what other people thought about it. Overall though, the movie sounds like it has a lot going for it, though it falls just a tad short of being critically acclaimed.

If you’re interested in checking Kimi, make sure your HBO Max subscription is in working order and judge it for yourself starting tomorrow. You’re also welcome to look through the lineup of 2022 movie releases to figure out what cinematic entertainment arriving later in the year looks interesting, or if you’re in the mood for some TV watching, see what HBO Max TV shows are available.

Adam Holmes
Adam Holmes

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.