Set in a rural British girls’ school in 1969, director Carol Morley’s The Falling explores issues of female friendship, desire and hysteria in a beguiling tale about a mysterious fainting sickness that spreads amongst the pupils.
Game of Thrones’ Maisie Williams is Lydia, an intense and trouble youngster who becomes infatuated with best friend Abbie (Florence Pugh), and terrified that their relationship will be crushed by Abbie’s flirtation with Lydia’s loner brother, Kenneth (Joe Cole), who dabbles in the occult. When Abbie falls victim to the epidemic and Lydia herself succumbs, forcing their tight-knit group of friends to make sense of the girls symptoms in the face of impassive elders, including Greta Saatchi’s Miss Mantel and Maxine Peake’s uncaring agrophobic mum Eileen.
With echoes of Picnic at Hanging Rock, The Moth Diaries, Heavenly Creatures and Lindsay Anderson’s If, this British indie is certainly bold and beautiful to look at, but not quite as brilliant as those films from which it draws its inner magic. Peake and Williams, however, are compelling.
The Falling is out on DVD and Blu-ray from Metrodome on Monday 24 August