Thomasin McKenzie & Anne Hathaway burn up the screen in William Oldroyd’s unsettling thriller.
Eileen will likely be lost in the holiday season shuffle among such spectacles as the upcoming Wonka and awards-friendly fare like Ferrari. On the other hand, it’s unclear under what circumstances Eileen would make a big splash. It’s an odd, occasionally off-putting little film that wouldn’t work as well as it does if not for the scorching chemistry between its two leads.
Based on Ottessa Moshfegh’s (also odd and occasionally off-putting) novel of the same name, Eileen stars Thomasin McKenzie as the titular character, a lonely young woman stuck in a miserable rut. Living in the most depressing town in Massachusetts circa 1964, Eileen is forced to take care of her alcoholic, mean-spirited father (a chilling Shea Whigham, still somehow not one of Hollywood’s biggest stars), a former cop who’s taken to waving his gun at their neighbors. Working as a secretary at a juvenile detention center, though she’s in her twenties she comes off as someone much younger, a meek and awkward child merely dressing up as an adult. Eileen also has a child’s taste for doing things like ignoring her hygiene, stuffing herself with candy, and compulsively masturbating, while maintaining a rich fantasy life involving rough sex with a detention center guard, or murdering her father. Her boredom has reached pathological levels. Continue Reading →
She Came to Me
Seven films into her career as a filmmaker and Rebecca Miller is still a perplexing study. From 1995’s Angela, her symbolic unpacking of a lost childhood (presumably her own) to 2015’s Maggie’s Plan, a symbolic study of a desire for independence (presumably her own), she's made female pain and pleasure her subject without ever settling on a formal approach. Miller is an auteur in the sense that the peculiar combination of confrontational sexuality and highly personal discursiveness seem like the province of someone who both knows exactly what kind of things she wants people to think about, even if she’s never decided the way she wants us to think about them, other than “immediately.” Continue Reading →
Armageddon Time, writer/director James Gray’s eighth feature film, follows a young boy named Paul Graff (Banks Repeta), a stand-in for Gray. He’s an unknowing, bratty, artsy kid. He breaks rules, makes fun of his teachers, won’t eat his mother’s cooking. He’s a regular, if not annoying, teenager. Paul’s family is Jewish and living in Queens in the 1980s. They send him to public school while his brother attends private school. They’re constantly hoping to get a leg up for their family amongst a sea of other discriminated families. Continue Reading →
Now in 2021, the pandemic rages on, and most of us find ourselves stuck in lockdowns with no end in sight. We’ve dealt with glitchy video calls, adventures in cohabitation, and are stuck with the isolation blues. Here to steal our attention away from the mess is Locked Down, a diverting heist/romance film from Doug Liman, starring Anne Hathaway and Chiwetel Ejiofor. Continue Reading →
Rachel Getting Married
Every month, we at The Spool select a filmmaker to explore in greater depth — their themes, their deeper concerns, how their works chart the history of cinema and the filmmaker’s own biography. For February, we’re celebrating acclaimed genre-bender Jonathan Demme. Read the rest of our coverage here.
Good movies are no stranger to trauma, hurt, or hardship. These things give the images projected and stories a truth that allows the audience to forget they’re fiction, but even in the best films, that sort of trauma is usually manicured, packaged, and made digestible in two-hour chunks. Some of the greatest works of cinema still put our collective pain into little boxes that viewers can open and close when needed.
Rachel Getting Married is rife with the same sort of pain, pathos, and unfathomable tragedy that has fueled many of those films. However, it presents an uglier, more unvarnished version of those elements and emotions. There’s an unsparing realness to the story it tells, of a family celebrating a beautiful occasion and reliving their worst losses at the same time. The results are, at times, hard to watch. But that just speaks to the raw nerve and level of authenticity that director Jonathan Demme manages to achieve here. Continue Reading →