News Leaflets
A leading news portal.

Eileen review – Anne Hathaway transfixes in off-kilter thriller | Sundance 2023

0 22

There’s a fantastically well-measured performance from Anne Hathaway in the strange, if not quite strange enough, thriller Eileen, an adaptation of Ottessa Moshfegh’s Booker prize-shortlisted novel. She’s an actor who doesn’t always find her sweet spot, admirably trying to show extensive range for a star of her high wattage, yet often not proving to be the right match for her material, big swings frustratingly filed away as big misses.

Hathaway has an outsized energy that can jar with roles that require a performer who can more convincingly, quietly disappear, and so in Eileen, where her character Rebecca is exploding into the drab world of 1960s Massachusetts as a glamorous, and potentially dangerous, bombshell, it’s a match-up that feels like kismet. Her arrival is a ground-shifter for bored 24-year-old Eileen (Thomasin McKenzie) whose life consists of caring for her cruel alcoholic father (a horribly believable Shea Wigham, a sterling character actor long overdue for more attention), controlling her sexual desire and working a thankless job as a secretary at a juvenile facility. When Rebecca joins the staff as a psychologist, Eileen, like the men surrounding her, is unable to stop staring, a sudden flash of colour in an otherwise muted world.

But Eileen isn’t quite sure what she wants or needs from Rebecca and then what Rebecca is willing to give her. With the setting, age difference and styling, there are obvious comparisons to Todd Haynes’s Carol, but the film is far less open about its queerness, in ways that intrigue but also frustrate. Eileen’s magnetic pull to Rebecca is hard-to-define in a way that many queer people can understand. Do I want to befriend this person? Do I want to be with this person? Or do I want to be this person? It’s in the film’s initial stages, where these and many other questions percolate, that Eileen is as its most effective, fizzing with unpredictability.

British director William Oldroyd, who announced himself by grabbing us all by the throat with 2016’s electrifying adaptation of Lady Macbeth, again fascinates himself with the story of curious women in desolate places, rejecting their given roles of the period and like that film, ultimately choosing violence instead of compliance. But Oldroyd, working off a script from Luke Goebel, author and husband to Moshfegh, doesn’t have quite as much to work with here, a story of initial psychological complexity turning into something far less juicy. The shared connection between Eileen and Rebecca harks back to that in Shirley, an excellent yet under seen Sundance drama from 2020, where Elisabeth Moss’s unconventional author finds a common perversity with a young woman and there’s a thrill to watching that game of push-and-pull play out on a razor’s edge.

Here, rather than indulging in anything quite as rich or murky, the women end up in a random, thinly developed crime plot that doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense within the context of the film, leaving us in a less compelling and specific place than where we started, a boil reduced to a simmer. The earlier flashes of psychosexual strangeness fade and I found myself craving a little bit more oddity from a film, and characters, that hinted at a more daring and depraved destination. Hathaway remains ferociously alluring though, her finest performances in years, never once making you question how and why she would be able to get anyone to do anything. McKenzie is a bit wobblier, with an accent that falters, but there’s a one scene wonder from Marin Ireland that steals all remaining air from the last act, a devastatingly difficult monologue delivered with a punch.

It’s the last great moment in a film that then sputters to nothing. Oldroyd never seems entirely sure just how pulpy and weird his material is, unable to decide how far to push, the odd stylistic flourish and burst of lurid music ultimately feeling incongruous in a film that’s otherwise visually quiet. The effect is that we also don’t quite know what it is that we’re watching either, a film with its freak flag frustratingly flying at half-mast, all that curiosity waiting to be sated.


Read original article here

Denial of responsibility! News Leaflets is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – [email protected]. The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Leave a comment