5 out of 10
Release Date: 24th April 2015
Director: Carol Morley (Dreams of a Life)
Cast: Maisie Williams, Florence Pugh, Maxine Peake, Monica Dolan, Joe Cole, Anna Burnett, Morfydd Clark, Rose Caton with Mathew Baynton and Greta Scacchi
Writer: Carol Morley
Trailer: THE FALLING
This oddity has a masterpiece contained in it, but overall its a muddle of storylines that bewitch then alienate in equal number. A strong start and a good set-up is squandered as the story throws in a gigantic plot turn from which it never recovers. To be more specific, the film has the wind taken out of its sales and then it drops in a further plot clanger which is at odds with the rest of the film.
None of it is the fault of the cast, nor is it the directors. The fault lies in the script (by director Carol Morley) which shuts off its beating heart early on. The void is replaced by a sotry that seems to being made up as it goes. There’s a bit of incest between the main character and her brother and it just sits in the film like an unwelcome guest, as it doesn’t really connect to the storyline, so it’s frankly an ill-judged gross-out.
Kudos for the early scenes goes to lead Maisie Williams (GAME OF THRONES) and newcomer Florence Pugh, as the two inseparable school friends. Pugh plays Abbie, who has just begun to have sex with boys, whilst the besotted Lydia is enthralled. Lydia’s brother, Kenneth (JOE COLE – GREEN ROOM) is also in her awe. When Abbie begins to have a spate of fainting fits, the other girls begin to mimic her, or is there more to it? Throw in a bit of incest and a weird performance by the usually brilliant Maxine Peake (THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING) as Lydia’s shut-in mother. Elsewhere Greta Scacchi (PRESUMED INNOCENT) and Monica Dolan (W1A) impress as the bemused teachers.
The film is very stylish but after a point it refuses to dip beneath the surface of the strange world of girls schools and the connected hysteria that causes mass fainting fits. But it fails to connect with the confused characters so we’re left with an reasonably good attempt to present something original but it pales by comparison to the forgotten Andrea Scott film Cracks and any passing resemblance to Picnic At Hanging Rock is just cosmetic.
5 out of 10 – Shame that this doesn’t go deeper and is just satisfied with being a bonkers arthouse movie instead. A very good first half hints at what could have been.
Second review below by Matt Usher
WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?
- Maisie Williams: iBoy, The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea, Dr Who (TV), Game of Thrones (TV), Gold
- Florence Pugh: The Commuter, Hush (2017), Lady Macbeth
- Maxine Peake: The Theory of Everything, Keeping Rosy, Run & Jump, The Village (TV), Silk (TV), Svengali, Private Peaceful, Best Laid Plans (2012), See No Evil (TV), Clubbed
- Monica Dolan: Eye In The Sky, W1A (TV), The Casual Vacancy (TV), Wolf Hall (TV), Pride (2014), Alan Partridge – Alpha Papa, Sightseers, The Arbor
- Joe Cole: Green Room, Secret In Their Eyes (2015), Pressure (2015), In The Blood (2015), A Long Way Down, Now Is Good, Peaky Blinders (TV), Offender, Skins (TV)
- Anna Burnett: Ripper Street (TV)
- Morfydd Clark: Love and Friendship, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, The Call Up
- Rose Caton: Last Knights
- Mathew Baynton: Bill, You Instead, Telstar, Horrible Histories (TV)
- Greta Scacchi: North V South, Brideshead Revisited (2008), Shoot On Sight, Flightplan, Beyond The Sea, Cotton Mary, Tom’s Midnight Garden, The Red Violin, The Serpent’s Kiss, Emma (1996), Cosi, Jefferson In Paris, Country Life, The Browning Version (1994), Salt On Our Skin, The Player, Turtle Beach, Shattered, Presumed Innocent, White Mischief, Defence of the Realm, The Coca-Cola Kid, Heat and Dust