A troubled girl becomes preoccupied with her mysterious new neighbor, who bears a striking resemblance to her dead mother.A troubled girl becomes preoccupied with her mysterious new neighbor, who bears a striking resemblance to her dead mother.A troubled girl becomes preoccupied with her mysterious new neighbor, who bears a striking resemblance to her dead mother.
This film is about, among other things, dealing with loss, motherhood and relationships with mothers. Not being able to be a mother but wanting to, not having a mother and wanting one. It may not sound exciting, or it may sound like a set-up for a romantic comedy of sorts, but this film has elements of horror, mystery, surrealism and gets quite intense at times. The film while it is dramatic and has many moments of the above is surprisingly comedic which helps balance the darker aspects of the film. Few films can pull off the level of comedy and heart- breaking reality that this film employs.
I knew fairly early on that I was going to like this film, the way it played perfectly with the audience's emotion and the striking production design. It is amazing how fresh and different this film feels, there is always an undercurrent that something is wrong which latches you to everything on screen.
I was emotionally invested in our main protagonist Emanuel (played by Kaya Scodelario) and in-turn with the single mother Linda (played by Jessica Biel). Between this and Wuthering Heights, I think Kaya Scodelario is an actress to keep an eye on. I've never been a Jessica Biel fan, until now, she is perfect in her role as 'the perfect mother'. The family dynamic too feels authentic with great supporting roles by Alfred Molina and Frances O'Conner.
The only thing that doesn't quite work in this film is the ending; it ends a bit abruptly and offers some emotional satisfaction but in terms of 'reality' feels like more should have happened to find a resolution for the characters. Maybe that's the point though, in difficult situations like these there is no neat bow to tie and make everyone feel perfect and the dissonance at the end is a manifestation of that. Other reactions may be more mixed but thematically and emotionally it was engaging and I appreciated it a great deal.
- Jan 24, 2013