The Falling

2014

Drama / Mystery

17
IMDb Rating 5.6

Synopsis


Downloaded 94321 times
8/27/2015 4:31:24 PM

1080p 720p
1.64G
1920*1040
MA15+
English
24 /
102 min
P/S 0 / 1
805.92M
1280*688
MA15+
English
24 /
102 min
P/S 0 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by rosiealaska 9

In 1969, Lydia (Maisie Williams) and Abbie (Florence Pugh) are two best friends at an English girls' school, but their peace is shattered when Lydia is taken over by a mysterious illness. Her behaviour becomes erratic and uncontrollable, and as a result, her emotionally distant mother (Maxine Peake) becomes increasingly disquieted. As the illness spreads throughout the school, it begins to take its toll and tear the tight-knit group apart, and the cause of it seems to lie deeper in the minds of the girls than anyone could ever have expected. Williams and Pugh are enchanting as Lydia and Abbie, and the supporting cast, including Greta Scacchi and Monica Dolan, give the film a perfectly executed sense of perception. Peake, too, gives an astounding performance, stealing the scene with every word she utters. Carol Morley's direction creates a lingering uneasiness about the film, which contrasts eerily with the stunning landscape of the English countryside. The story is layered with intertwining details that increase the enigmatic charm of it without crossing the fine line into pretentious melodrama. Despite, at times, being directionally unclear, the film's dream- like quality brings all of the elements of the production together to form a visually stimulating mystery drama. This haunting tale of mass hysteria is a masterpiece that only proves Morley's promise as a feature film director.

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Reviewed by Michael Cooper 3

I had the (dis)pleasure of seeing Carol Morley's The Falling during an evening with my housemates. Having read a brief summary of the plot of the film, as well as having viewed an online trailer several months in advance, I was intrigued, if somewhat confused. Neither the synopsis nor the trailer gave much away concerning the storyline. Now, having seen the film in its entirety, I can safely say I'm none the wiser. If anything, I'm much more confused. The film focuses on schoolgirl Lydia's (Maisie Williams) almost obsessive, lesbianist relationship with Abbie (Florence Pugh), a fellow student, who falls ill after having slept with Lydia's brother. Following her death, Lydia begins to show similar symptoms and collapses numerous times before the teaching staff. Before long, all the other girls follow suit, resulting in an epidemic that the tutors swiftly attempt to sweep under the rug. Meanwhile, Lydia's agoraphobic mother (Maxine Peake) remains disturbingly unresponsive to her daughter's behaviour until the film's final moments. Throughout, the film raises several questions, like 'what's causing this epidemic?', 'why is Lydia so deranged?' and 'why is Lydia's mother afraid to leave the house?' But the biggest question on my mind whilst watching the film was 'what's the point in this tripe?' As you can probably tell, this is one of those pretentious, moralistic and metaphorical films that is supposed to maintain some kind of underlying meaning or social commentary. The problem is that it's never made clear what this commentary actually is. Is Morley saying that early sexual activity is wrong? Or is she providing a commentary on the restrictive educational system of the late 1960s? Or both? Or neither? God only knows. What's more, a number of questions remain unanswered. For example, one of the girls, Titch, remains immune to the so-called epidemic, but it's never explained why. In addition, Lydia's bizarre romantic and sexual relationship with her brother (yes, this actually happens ? as if Morley couldn't have made the film any weirder) doesn't seem to serve much purpose. I'm half-expecting someone to respond to this by arguing some deeply profound metaphorical jargon to the contrary. Don't bother. It's controversial for the sake of being controversial; pure garbage. As some other reviewers here have already noted, the acting and cinematography are mostly of a high standard; Maxine Peake is no less than outstanding in her role, making her the film's only truly convincing character. The other characters are burdened with weak, horrific and sometimes laughable dialogue and cheesy faux-horror movie acting. Scenes in which the group of girl-friends are seen linking arms, chanting Abbie's name and dancing in a circle, are particularly excruciating, not to mention somewhat comedic, as are the fainting scenes, of which there are too many to have any impact; it just comes across as ridiculous. Why Lydia constantly feels the need to perform some interpretative dance piece before collapsing is anybody's guess. Despite this, the young cast's acting abilities are far from abysmal, but with no logical narrative or decipherable plot, this is hardly enough to save the film from falling flat on its face. It's slow, it's repetitive, and laden with shameless attempts to be controversial and innovative. The fact that this film has critics in awe is extremely worrying, and it makes me wonder whether people know what makes a good film anymore. On a vaguely positive note, the title is appropriate. There is, indeed, a great deal of falling that occurs in this film. In fact, any fans of seeing people repeatedly fall over for no discernible reason are in for a real treat. Unfortunately for the rest, you may risk falling asleep. 3/10

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Reviewed by Saskia Bartlett 7

Purely based on the title, and the knowledge that the setting is an austere girls' school in 1967, you'd be forgiven for assuming Carol Morley's The Falling would probably centre simply around the classic teenage angst of someone 'falling' for someone else ? a sweet tale of a girl being smitten with another girl perhaps, given the film's pride of place in the opening weekend of the BFI Flare Festival ? and the love being inevitably unrequited. It does to some extent, but this is only the tip of the iceberg: little would you guess that it also features hordes of schoolgirls quite literally falling down in a dead faint. One after the other, like flies. No, it's not a horror film, it is real. It's called Mass Psychogenic Illness (MPI), and what a compelling, original and absolutely fascinating idea for a story it is. In Medieval times they called it 'Dancing Mania'; nowadays, MPI may have a more assuredly scientific-sounding title but continues to baffle medical experts to this day. Mysteriously more common in women, it involves the spooky spreading of symptoms such as acute nervous ticks, nausea, and most dramatically, mass fainting. As much as the film's introduction of this little-publicised phenomenon makes you want to delve into the nearest history book and learn more, it deliberately avoids the temptation to be reassuringly documentative or even conform to a specific genre (are we meant to laugh of feel scared?), instead drawing us into a heady, complex and utterly bewildering fog of its characters' fear, rage, innocence and desire, told in a disarmingly abstract and unique way which ? complete with stunning canvas-like cinematography by Agnes Goddard and a gorgeously jittery, surreal score by Tracey Thorn ? transcends the film into another realm of artistry. It is a challenging coming-of-age role for Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams, who finally has the opportunity to embrace something far more substantial than tomboy-with-sword. Within the stifling old school Britishness of punishment and ritual, the cult-like intensity of teenage friendship and a warped home environment, Williams juggles psychological damage and repressed sexuality with guts, gamely leading the fresh young cast with the right balance of innocence and twisted unpredictability. Maxine Peake chills and impresses as the mother; mentally and physically frozen in the forties she is cold, sad and detached from her children. As indeed are the teachers ? including those played absorbingly by Greta Scacchti and Monica Dolan, who seem both resentful and frightened of their pupils ? with the exception of the much younger art teacher, who appears to represent the sexual liberation of the younger generation (she is the only member of staff to be affected by the psychological contagion sweeping the school and joins them in the swoonathon). Often alarmingly funny, sometimes shocking, nearly always discomfiting, this is a controversial, stirring and bizarrely uplifting creation that is not to be missed. * Saskia Bartlett writes for Front Row Reviews. Please check out the Front Row Reviews website to read more of her work. This article is part of her coverage of the 2015 BFI Flare London LGBT Film Festival.

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