‘Judy and Punch’ Review: Mia Wasikowska Leads a Dark, Python-esque Retelling of a Puppet Classic

‘Judy and Punch’ Review: Mia Wasikowska Leads a Dark, Python-esque Retelling of a Puppet Classic
If “Being John Malkovich” taught us anything, it’s that marriage and puppets just don’t mix. Even behind closed doors and dropped curtains, some men always need to feel like they’re pulling the strings. Of course, that lesson predated Spike Jonze by a few hundred years, tracing all the way back to the “Punch and Judy” shows that sprung out of the comedia dell’arte tradition in 16th century Italy before moving north and being perpetuated as a Victorian pastime.

How fitting that the most famous story puppets have ever been used to tell — a story that’s basically synonymous with the artform used to tell it — is about a controlling husband who neglects his wife, abuses their baby, and then administers a hilarious slapstick beatdown upon everyone who tries to put him to rights (up to and including the devil himself). The vibe at modern Punch and
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