The Falling

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The Falling

Written/directed by Carol Morley

Before I get into this review, let me get something off my chest.

I recently witnessed a debate on Facebook about how women are represented in cinema and how they are treated as artists in the industry. As a guy who is all about equal rights across all industries, I was immediately drawn to this debate. However, the girl who had initiated the debate was, in my humble opinion, arguing her case in the most diabolical manner ever.

’50 Shades of Grey’ has recently been released, and has made more money than James Cameron’s ‘Avatar’ in their respective opening weekends. This fact alone was enough for the young woman hosting the debate to state that these numbers clearly proved that the world clearly wanted to see cinema that was created by and for women, dealing with women’s issues head on.

Forgive me, but I highly doubt that the sort of women who are attracted to a movie that stemmed from Twilight fan-faction and grew into a horrific trilogy of poorly written, dreadfully researched, rape-glorifying “literature” that, quite frankly, sets women’s rights back decades, could give 50 shades of shite about who was involved in the creative process of bringing such a film to the screen!

Also, if we’re going to use ‘Avatar’ as the standard here, then why not reference Kathryn Bigelow, who beat her ex-husband, James Cameron, to the Best Director Oscar for ‘The Hurt Locker’ and simultaneously became the first woman to receive the award. That year, she also received the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Directing, the BAFTA Award for Best Direction and the Critics’ Choice Movie Award for Best Director. Not to mention that in 1995, she also became the first woman to win the Saturn Award for Best Director for her sci-fi action thriller ‘Strange Days.’

Our debate host could have easily annihilated any argument from any opposition by playing the Kathryn Bigelow card… Or, she could have waited just a little while longer and played a Royal Flush with ‘The Falling.’

Set in ’69, the film follows the story of Lydia (the ever wonderful Maisie Williams of ‘Game of Thrones’ fame) and her classmates at an all girls school who, after the sudden loss of a charismatic friend, Abbie (newcomer and one-to-watch, Florence Pugh) all start to suffer episodes of fainting, sometimes in a rather dramatic fashion!

Dealing with girls becoming young women, there is the inevitable sexual awakening tied in to the plot, a disturbing build up in a bond between siblings and a startling revelation in the midst of a strange and strained mother/daughter relationship.

Florence Pugh steals this show, no doubt, making her more than deserving of her Best British Newcomer nomination. Even after her character’s death, she continues to haunt the entire film, constantly being the sole driving force for almost everything that plays out. Maxine Peake gives a frustratingly great performance as the mother of Lydia, who is handled intelligently by Maisie Williams. And, as one of the very few males in the film, Joe Cole delivers us a sleazy, yet somehow loveable, Kenneth, the older brother of Lydia.

Written and directed by the fantastic Carol Morley, beautifully shot by Agnes Godard and accompanied by the haunting music of Tracey Thorn, ‘The Falling’ is a film about women, made by (mostly) women, but is made for everyone!

Is it different because so many key roles were held by women? I do believe it is, yes. And it is fantastic because of it! ‘The Falling’ is a piece of cinema that will make us, as movie-goers, want to seek out more films like it. But the most important fact here is NOT that these job titles were filled by women, it’s that these job titles were filled by talented artists with a united vision and something to say!

‘The Falling’ is due for UK release on April 24th.



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