THE LITTLE STRANGER (12A)

THE LITTLE STRANGER (12A)

Run time: 111 MINS

Director: Lenny Abrahamson

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter and Charlotte Rampling

Synopsis: After a doctor is called to visit a crumbling manor, strange things begin to occur.

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPDA7Z1c-Eg

Director Lenny Abrahamson [Room (2015), Frank (2014), What Richard Did (2012)]

brings us this Gothic drama, written by Lucinda Coxon, based on the novel of the same name by Sarah Waters, and starring some of the cream of current British acting talent Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, and Charlotte Rampling.

The Little Stranger tells the story of Dr.Faraday [Domhnall Gleeson – Goodbye Christopher Robin (2017), Ex Machina (2014), Frank (2014)], a housemaid’s son who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. During the long hot summer of 1948, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall, where his mother once worked. The Hall has been home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries. But it is now in decline and its inhabitants – mother [Charlotte Rampling – 45 Years (2015), Swimming Pool (2003), The Sense of an Ending (2017)], son (Will Poulter – Detroit (2017), The Revenant (2015), Son of Rambow (2007)] and daughter [Ruth Wilson –The Affair (TV 2014 -)] are haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life. When he takes on his new patient, Faraday has no idea how closely, and how disturbingly, the family’s story is about to become entwined with his own.

With a superb pacing of narrative in the screenplay written by Lucinda Coxon [The Danish Girl (2015)] and moody cinematography by Ole Bratt Birkeland, the themes foregrounded in this tense supernatural thriller are both the surface nature of evil and the underlying social upheaval of the class system in post-war Britain.  The film often seems like an exploration of the rise of socialism in the United Kingdom and how the fading gentry dealt with losing their legacies, as much as a tale of grief or unrequited love. Echoes of the Gothic writing of Henry James, Wilkie Collins and Edgar Allan Poe abound.

A soundtrack by Stephen Rennicks emphasises the sinister atmosphere of this slow burn psychological chiller, which ultimately remains memorable thanks to the superb performances from the whole ensemble, particularly Ruth Wilson and Domnhall Gleeson.

Images courtesy of PATHÉ