15 user 1 critic

The Thirteenth Tale (2013)

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.


James Kent


Christopher Hampton, Diane Setterfield (based on novel)


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Janet Amsden Janet Amsden ... The Missus
Alice Barlow Alice Barlow ... Moira
Isabel Barlow Isabel Barlow ... Young Margaret
Emily Beecham ... Isabelle March
Antonia Clarke ... Young Emmeline
Olivia Colman ... Margaret Lea
Jacqueline Davis Jacqueline Davis ... Judith
Tom Goodman-Hill ... Dr. Mawsley
Lizzie Hopley ... Theodora Mawsley
Michael Jibson ... Charlie Angelfield
Adam Long ... Ambrose Proctor
Steven Mackintosh ... Dr. Clifton
Madeleine Power ... Emmeline & Adeline, age 9
Robert Pugh ... John The Dig
Vanessa Redgrave ... Vida Winter


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 Diane Setterfield

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Mystery


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Official Sites:

MovieScore Media [Sweden]





Release Date:

30 December 2013 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

A Décima Terceira História See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Heyday Films See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs




Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Vanessa Redgrave portrays Vida Winter in this film, and her sister, Lynn Redgrave, portrays the part of Vida Winter in the audiobook by Diane Setterfield, on which this film is based. See more »

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User Reviews

One out of three is bad
3 January 2014 | by jc-osmsSee all my reviews

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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