What begins as a delicate coming-of-age tale about sex and sexuality quickly spirals into a genre melting oddball. Maisie Williams (of Game of Thrones fame) stars alongside newcomer Florence Pugh, both young actors creating an excellent and energetic centre, a tender screen presence as inseparable school friends. Lydia (Williams) clearly has an infatuation with Abbie (Pugh) that goes beyond platonic, a curiosity quite possibly shared but not quite explored within the confines of a 1960s
English girls school.
When suddenly confronted with complicated decisions and trauma, an epidemic of fainting arises among the girls. There’s allusions to the occult, to some sort of psychological sensation taking hold, to an overwhelming melancholy transpiring or just possibly teenage attention seeking. The cause of the epidemic lingers uncomfortably and not altogether successfully. Whist it’s curious and strange, the film doesn’t hang together with any great purpose or intent, instead drifting into a mirage of baffling images. Thankfully the film benefits from a gorgeous soundtrack from Tracey Thron which turns the strange phenomena into something sensual and emotive. The film is full of gorgeous images of water and reflection, director Carol Morley painting her picture with beautiful thick tones even if some of the finer details don’t quite stand out.
Review by David Rank
The Falling is out on now in the UK. Running time 102 mins. Certificate 15 (UK).