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Plot: THE LITTLE STRANGER tells the story of Dr. Faraday, the son of a housemaid, 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… Runtime: 111 min Release Date: 06 Sep 2018
This is not a "slow burn". It is a crafted piece of film put together to tell a story of a man who yearns to live in a part of society he can never truly be a part of. If you watch this film with that thought in mind, you'll understand it better.Dr. Faraday we learn early on, is a small town doctor who prides himself as being a respectable, proper gentleman. He does all the little things required to be a part of upper society but can never really be upper class as he is the son of a lower class family whose mother was a maid. The defining moment of his childhood shown in the <more>
film was a visit to Hundreds Hall for a party thrown by the well-to-do Ayres family for their young daughter Susan Suki . he notices the opulence, the pomp and circumstance of it all. The event is from a different world than the one little Faraday lives in. He knows he doesn't belong but he yearns to be a part of this group of people. A photograph, where Suki jumps in front of Faraday is a small example of this exclusion.Through a coincidence, he is able to get into the house that was restricted to outside guests, and delves further into the life he cannot possibly attain. In the kitchen he literally gets a taste of the sweet life when he licks cake batter off a spoon as his mother talks with some of the maids. While she is distracted, he wanders off through the house, admiring the size and luxuriousness of the interior halls. He arrives at the grand staircase and he thinks deeply about wanting nothing more than to be a part of this family; living in this house. He wants it so bad that he breaks off a stone acorn from the wall. All the while, Suki is watching, smiling at this foolish little pleb of a boy.His mother find him and confronts him on his disappearance. He reveals the acorn and she slaps him across the face for his doltishness. He should not even have dared to dream of being a part of this world.As we move into the present day with Faraday now Dr. Faraday, he has grown up but he is, in a lot of ways, still that little boy. That little stranger who does not belong in that house with that family. Understanding this will help to understand the movie. It is not a supernatural horror film. It is a film about a man trying desperately to be part of something he cannot ever really be a part of. As hard as he might to be a refined British gentleman with glowing credentials, he is still the lower class country boy. When Faraday meets the Ayres family, they, like the house they live in, are all in various states of disrepair and neglect.The mother has never gotten over the death of her first child Suki. The son, and heir to the estate, has been physically damaged in the war. The daughter, frumpy and tired, has let herself go, resigned to the fact that her mother loves her dead sister more.Upon meeting and then visiting the family often, Dr. Faraday builds a rapport that he hopes will bring him closer to that childhood desire of being a part of this class. However, even as they are all shadows of their former selves and he is a rising star amongst his middle class peers, Dr. Faraday never attains their upper class status.As each family member side-tracks him from that ambition, he coldly takes steps to eliminate them. We never see on screen the wicked deeds he executes but he methodically gets rid of anyone in his way of winning the prize he so desires. He banishes the son to an asylum, he fakes the mother's death as a suicide, he murders the daughter who turned down his marriage proposal. In the end, with the Ayres family gone, the house is left desolate and barren. There is no furniture and the rooms are littered with dead leaves, blown in from the outside through broken windows. Dr. Faraday holds the keys to the house suggesting he its the owner. It it literally a hollow shell of its former glory, but to Dr. Faraday, the house is a prize worth having no matter the derelict conditions. The last shot of the film is a teary eyed little Faraday, standing at the top of the grand staircase looking down as if to suggest he never stopped being that sad, little boy who just wanted so desperately to be a part of something.
I love the moody atmosphere of this movie and the cinematography. The action is very slow building and is not suitable for either children or fidgety ADD adults, as it does not rely on "boo" scares around every corner or over-the-top special-effects-overload in order to be good. When I saw the film at the cinema, there were actually people walking out of the movie half way through it. Their loss!
Deserves Every Available Accolade (by beorhhouse)
This is a slow, atmospheric, haunting masterpiece like The Others. For anyone who loves British film, Ghost Stories, excellent acting, great storyline, and old haunted houses, this film should be at the top of the list. I can't say enough how much I love this film with all of its muted colors, depressed people, and clinical analysis set just after WWII--late 40s or very early 50s.
Dark, Gothic, Wonderfully Opaque (by tkmcc-08780)
I fully expected a movie along the lines of VVitch or Annihilation, and I wasn't disappointed. It's a bit horror movie, possibly a ghost story, maybe a murder mystery and much a gothic drama. The suspense builds from the overwhelming sense of foreboding. There's a malevolent presence but the source is just not clear. You're sure something is going to happen, it'll likely be bad, and you're not sure what it is or what the cause is. Some reviewers were confused by the switching back and forth between past and present, main character narrative, half followed leads and <more>
choppiness - I think it's there on purpose to throw off the viewer, and it worked. Is it supernatural, is it madness, is it the supernatural causing madness or madness causing the supernatural? It's hard to tell what's behind the events but the frequent often conflicting and ambivalent clues keep the audience involved and guessing. Several themes are at play here - class conflict, the decline of England after the world wars, unrequited love, the fall of a once great family, child and teen angst, family/child/parent conflict and dysfunction, rural vs. city lifestyle, male/female conflict, and more. Some are explored more than others, but overall it adds to the complexity and depth of the movie. There's enough here to likely get most people out of their comfort zones at least part of the time.The buildup is a bit slow - maybe not so much a pacing problem as a slow burn that several reviewers have noted. If you're expecting lots of fast, horror action, this isn't a film for you. If you're looking for complexity, a enigma, and something different, you may like this movie too.
A film we didn't ask for but certainly needed (by goreilly-01241)
I believe that the harsh criticism this film recieved by the audience is simply down to the fact that director Lenny Abrahamson did not give the audience what they were expecting. One critic described it as "not scary enough", as he/she was clearly disappointed, not to be given a character who asks "Who's there?" whenever they hear a noise. This is a movie that does not fit in a tidy box, but takes elements from a wide variety of genres to tell a truly unique story with a fascinating character.Lenny Abrahamson is a director touched by the hand of the cinema god. <more>
Visually, this film is beautiful. From the stunning production design to the uniform and muted colour palette. The sound design Is not the cliche loud noises you will find in horrors, but instead uses natural sounds such as the creaking of an old house and silence to create an uncomfortable atmosphere. I found the character of Faraday Donal Gleeson truly facinating. An ocean of emotion contained in a conservative upper class persona. I found it particularly fascinating how Lenny explored the harsh consequences suppressed emotions and a lack of self-awareness can do.This won't give you what you think you want, but will certainly give you what you want. Thank you Lenny.
If you read the book then the movie is a pretty accurate portrayal. They do blow through the first 3/4 of book quickly but it stays true. This is not a horror movie nor was it a horror book. A true slow burn.
Very cleverly constructed period mystery, dark complex charaters and excellently acted. (by Fourstrawberries)
Something of an emotional roller coaster. None of the characters are quite what they seem to be, it's almost as if they culture some hope and then dash it to the ground just as the viewer is lulled into a hope of a happy concluson to that particular scene.Gradually the superficial character of each key player is stripped away to reveal something unexpected about them. The good become villains, and sometimes good again. The supposed villains revealed to be good or just victims of some unseen manipulator.The story does come to an end. It's not one of those sadistic films where <more>
you're left wondering what the hell just happened, but you are left placing the last few pieces of the puzzle together for yourself .If you're looking for whizz-bang special effect laden offerings that require nothing more than propping your eyelids open for a couple of hours, then look to Hollywood.British horror/mystery has led the world in high quality intellectually stimulating film making over the last few years, and this is another superb offering that rests well with the likes of "Dark Song" and "Apostle".
Nice to see a movie work on atmosphere and not jump scares
Masterpiece Theater + Mystery intriguing tale (by ozzieink)
I'm shocked at the number of reviewers saying they were bored and thought this film too long. I had a half hour to kill and thought I'd start THE LITTLE STRANGER and finish it later. But I was hooked from the beginning. This is not a haunted house movie like Poltergeist or Amityville Horror but an dark, atmospheric tale that is very well acted, with some shocking surprises. It worked for me.