Follows aging novelist Vida Winter, who enlists a young writer to finally tell the story of her life including her mysterious childhood spent in Angelfield House, which burned to the ground when she was a teenager.
The story of the residents of Angelfield House and follows ageing novelist Vida Winter, who enlists a young writer to finally tell the story of her life - including her mysterious childhood spent in Angelfield House, which burned to the ground when she was a teenager. Written by
This BBC psychological thriller drew on most of the established "givens" in what appeared to be a classic ghost story, with a big creepy house, a troubled governess, mysterious deaths, brooding Yorkshire moors, emotionally disturbed children and of course sightings of a ghostly lady in white. In fact, the twist is that it manages to subvert all these clichés and still produce a gripping story which holds the viewer until the end.
Perhaps the story had a little too much going on, what with Olivia Colman's character's own big childhood secret ("everyone's got one", as Vanessa Redgrave's dying narrator repeatedly tells her), the romance between the married doctor and the fretful governess and the Agatha Christie-like succession of unexplained and apparently uninvestigated deaths, but with atmospheric direction and fine acting by the two leads in particular, both of whom resist the temptation to ham it up, they successfully draw the viewer into these improbable events.
Yes, the twist about the mysterious twin sisters is fairly transparent from early on and it fails to deliver even one "jump out your chair" moment, but the story carefully explains away all the loose ends it throws up by the fiery conclusion. As I said the story's not exactly original, as becomes obvious when Colman twice on her own visits the old haunted house in time-honoured Tippi Hedren fashion, but my eyes were pretty much glued to it throughout, if not quite through my fingers I must say.
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