Director: William Oldroyd
Stars: Thomasin McKenzie, Anne Hathaway, Shea Whigham, Owen Teague
British director Oldroyd follows up his austere feature debut, the Durham set-period drama ‘Lady Macbeth’, with this stylish noir set in 60s Massachusetts. Eileen (McKenzie) is a secretary at a prison and a dowdy, listless loner who dislikes her fellow workers. She occasionally fantasies about the younger inmates. She lives with her bitter alcoholic dad Jim (the reliably excellent Whigham) who constantly puts her down. Her work life perks up with the arrival of Rebecca (Hathaway) the glamorous and mischievous blonde counsellor who takes a liking to the younger woman. They grow close then Rebecca reveals a life-changing secret to Eileen. With its wallflower protagonist whose life is upturned by an older coquettish sophisticate, this plays very much like a noir take on 'Carol', distractingly so. Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway are great and there are potent themes at play here, but the drama is inhibited by the excessively pastiche approach, replete with a Bernard Herrmann-style score and period titles.
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