DESPERATELY longing for a different life is the basis of many lead characters in coming-of-age dramas, and this film is no different in that respect.
It tells the story of Eileen a young, lonely woman who lives with her alcoholic, out-of-work dad in 1960s Boston. She spends her days working as a secretary in a prison where her co-workers sneer at her naivety and lack of experience.
Anne Hathaway is the real standout in this strangely violent thrillerCredit: Alamy
At night, Eileen buys her father two bottles of spirits and lies in her dingy bedroom eating chocolates.
Her only means of escapism is the odd sexual fantasy or daydreaming about sudden bouts of extreme violence.
But what makes this film — an adaptation of Ottessa Moshfegh’s 2015 novel — very different is the steps Eileen takes to change her life.
Eileen suddenly gains access to a life she thought was out of reach when the prison employs a new psychiatrist — the incredibly glamorous Dr Rebecca Saint John (Anne Hathaway).
The highly intelligent and intriguing Marilyn Monroe lookalike is exactly what Eileen needs to break the monotony of her life.
She is entranced by her beauty and confidence — and how she acknowledges her existence as a peer.
Soon, Eileen is pulled into Rebecca’s world and finds herself dressing up in her dead mother’s cocktail dresses to sip Martinis with her in bars.
The unlikely pals even hit the dancefloor, where they share a kiss and it is clear to see Eileen is infatuated with the doctor.
As is her desire to please her, which is so strong it may become dangerous.
Eileen sees her as an escape from her drunk dad, who points guns at the neighbours and tells her she smells of “road kill”.
Rebecca appears to have it all and Eileen wants a piece of that, too.
Played exquisitely by Thomasin McKenzie, Eileen’s pale face goes from pinched and furious to beautiful and full of longing in seconds.
But it’s Hathaway who will be remembered for this film.
She plays the carefree-yet-complicated Dr Rebecca with incredible ease.
Directed by Brit William Oldroyd, the film takes a dark and sudden twist that leaves you barely capable of catching up before it’s gone.
Perhaps not quite knowing how to end this dark drama, it falls a little short, but this is a strangely beautiful, violent thriller that’s eerily inviting.
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“THIS is Norway, nothing bad ever happens here” says hapless American abroad, Bill (Martin Starr), resembling National Lampoon’s Clark Griswold in his festive jumper in this silly Christmas comedy-horror.
He then urges his wife Carol (Amrita Acharia), and two kids Nora and Lucas to get the selfie stick out and pose in front of a “Beware Moose” road sign while the real thing wanders out behind them.
This silly festive horror could have done with more satire and less seasonal slaughterCredit: Supplied
The family have moved to Scandinavia where Carol plans to run self-help seminars from their inherited property’s barn, Lucas dismisses the Northern Lights with a “whatever” and Nora sulks that there’s “no beaches or softball, just snow.”
There’s also a resident posse of Gremlins-esque evil barn elves – known in folklore as Nisse – hellbent on terrorising them.
The arrival of these pistol-toting goblins mean what starts out as a decent witty script with good cultural stereotype gags, soon descends into overblown bore-gore grizzly carnage.
More satire and less seasonal slaughter would have greatly improved the unbalanced pace of this holiday horror.
But Henrietta Steenstrup as the deadpan Politi officer is a treat throughout.
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This timeless Finnish love story can’t fail to raise a smileCredit: Alamy
DROLL, sentimental, and quietly funny, this tale of two everyday Finns and their prosaic love story can’t fail to raise a smile.
Set in Helsinki, our romantic leads are Ansa (Alma Poysti) who works on a zero-hours contract, and construction worker Holappa (Jussi Vatanen).
Both are lonely, and living humdrum, everyday lives. Ansa eats alone nightly, occasionally pocketing an unsold out-of-date sandwich from the supermarket shelves she stacks.
Holappa is a drinker, secretly sneaking spirits into his coffee cup. Both find themselves in trouble at work consequently.
When their eyes meet in a karaoke bar a boy-meets-girl story ensues – from first date to happy ending – that mines affectionate comedy from its banality.
Set in the present day, although the lack of any technology other than a radio initially implies otherwise, director Aki Kaurismaki punctuates the script with news bulletins on the Ukraine war, a nod to his native country’s geographic proximity to current events.
While sets dressed in blocks of primary colours contrast with the simple lives we witness, adding to the timeless feel of this tale.