Monday, December 5, 2022

A mother/daughter relationship explored


Tilda Swinton plays dual roles of daughter and mother in The Eternal Daughter, director Joanna Hogg’s intensely focused examination of the complexities and nuances of a mother/daughter relationship. Swinton’s Julie has brought her mother Rosalind to a Welsh hotel to celebrate her mother’s birthday. Julie, a filmmaker, plans to begin a screenplay based on her mother’s life. Hogg fills the soundtrack with eerie suggestions, cluing us to the idea that there’s more here than meets the eye. It’s no surprise that Swinton, with modest help from make-up, meticulously details the tics and behaviors of both Julie and Rosalind. The movie quietly (very) builds toward a big reveal, which will make you want to replay much of the story in your mind before you reach a verdict about Hogg’s achievement. Hogg (The Souvenir, The Souvenir: Part II) works at her own pace, resisting the temptation to be hurried, which  means that the movie can feel a trifle dull at times. Still, the affections and tensions of a mother/daughter relationship prove intriguing and Hogg winds up with a carefully realized exploration of a psychologically rich subject made more vivid by Swinton's capable work. I don’t want to give away more, but Hogg leaves us with a provocative question: Are ghosts real, and if so, what are they made of?

No comments: