The Falling – “A dark and enchanting film…”

Short reviews for clear and concise verdicts on a broad range of films…


The Falling (Dir. Carol Morley/2015)

Directed by Carol Morley, The Falling is a dark and enchanting film. Set in 1969, we join Lydia (Maisie Williams) and best friend Abby (Florence Pugh) as they come of age in a leafy girl’s school. Amongst the growing-pains of the girls and the societal change in female empowerment, a strange fainting epidemic takes hold of the students. The obvious question as to whether they are ‘faking’ is highlighted from the outset, but it’s by no means the central question that lurks in the background of this dreamy piece. Returning to an ageing tree and a flowing river that runs by the school, growth and the passing of time reminds us of the future to come. The teachers, of a different generation, witness the unexplainable transformation but look on it with distrust. Akin to Dreams of a Life, every person has a backstory, portrayed by Morley through moving montages set against an acoustic, haunting soundtrack by Tracey Thorn. Cinematography by Agnes Godard is outstanding also, separating the surreal school from the claustrophobic home life of Lydia and her family. The initial viewing is uncomfortable, as a flirtatious brother makes you squirm and the fainting, fits and writhing on the floor borders on ridiculous. I wondered whether I could laugh. But, on reflection, this feels like the point. You can laugh and you can squirm. The question is what you do next? Do you isolate and expel? Or do you accept and come together? These questions make me desperate to return…

Rating: 4/5

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