Keira Knightley ● Gugu Mbatha-Raw ● Jessie Buckley ● Greg Kinnear ● Lesley Manville ● Keeley Hawes ● Rhys Ifans ● Phyllis Logan
London, 4th December 2019, Pathe have today announced that they will release MISBEHAVIOUR on 13 March 2020 at cinemas across the UK.
The film is directed by BAFTA winner Philippa Lowthorpe (Three Girls) and stars Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jessie Buckley, Greg Kinnear, Lesley Manville, Keeley Hawes, Rhys Ifans and Phyllis Logan.
A politically relevant, inspirational true story, the film skilfully combines humour with drama to celebrate all women, however they choose to navigate a male-dominated world:
In 1970, the Miss World competition took place in London, hosted by US comedy legend, Bob Hope. At the time, Miss World was the most-watched TV show on the planet with over 100 million viewers. Claiming that beauty competitions demeaned women, the newly formed Women’s Liberation Movement achieved overnight fame by invading the stage and disrupting the live broadcast of the competition. Not only that, when the show resumed, the result caused uproar: the winner was not the Swedish favourite but Miss Grenada, the first black woman to be crowned Miss World. In a matter of hours, a global audience had witnessed the patriarchy driven from the stage and the Western ideal of beauty turned on its head.
The film was written by Rebecca Frayn and Gaby Chiappe, and produced by Suzanne Mackie and Sarah Jane Wheale. MISBEHAVIOUR is a Pathé, Ingenious Media, BBC Films, BFI presentation of a Left Bank Pictures production.
UK cinema release date: 13 March 2020
Running time: 1 hour 46 minutes
For press information, please contact:
Nicki Foster / Oliver Lavery / Simon Bell / Harriet Gilholm
Tel: + 44 20 7292 8330 / Email: Firstname.email@example.com
THE LOST KING
Pathé today released the first image from THE LOST KING, starring Oscar nominee and Golden Globe winning actress Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water, Blue Jasmine, Happy-Go-Lucky) in the lead role of Philippa Langley. Joining Sally Hawkins are Steve Coogan (Stan & Ollie, Philomena) in the role of Philippa’s husband, John Langley; and Harry Lloyd in the role of Richard III. The film reunites the Oscar nominated and BAFTA winning creative team behind box office and critical hit, Philomena – director Stephen Frears and writers Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope. THE LOST KING tells the remarkable true story of how one ‘ordinary’ woman discovered the long-lost remains of King Richard III. The film recently finished shooting in Edinburgh and Leicester and will be released in cinemas nationwide next year, the 10th anniversary of the discovery: In 2012, having been lost for over 500 years, the remains of King Richard III were discovered beneath a carpark in Leicester. The search had been orchestrated by an amateur historian, Philippa Langley, whose unrelenting research had been met with incomprehension by her friends and family and with scepticism by experts and academics. THE LOST KING is the life-affirming true story of a woman who refused to be ignored and who took on the country's most eminent historians, forcing them to think again about one of the most infamous kings in England's history. The film is produced by Steve Coogan, Christine Langan (The Queen) and Dan Winch (A Very English Scandal) and is a Baby Cow production for Pathé, BBC Film, Ingenious Media and Screen Scotland. Executive Producers are Cameron McCracken and Jenny Borgars for Pathé; Rose Garnett for BBC Film; Andrea Scarso for Ingenious; Jeff Pope and Philippa Langley. The film was Co-produced by Wendy Griffin. Pathé will distribute the film in the UK, France and Switzerland and will handle sales throughout the rest of the world. For further information contact: Sophie Glover, Head of Publicity, Pathé UK Sophie.firstname.lastname@example.org / 07917 045875
THE LITTLE STRANGER
The Little Stranger opens in the UK and Ireland to a wealth of critical acclaim The Little Stranger review: One of the most original British horror films of recent times ★★★★ The Independent Geoffrey Macnab The Little Stranger is one of the most original British horror films of recent times – although whether it can really be classified as horror is a moot point. Based on the novel by Sarah Waters, this is a story about class, envy and self-loathing. It is set in the austerity-era Britain of 1948, when the country was in debt and drained of colour and when the old aristocracy was on its knees. Beautifully directed by Lenny Abrahamson, the film evokes this period in a way that is both nostalgic and frequently chilling. Domhnall Gleeson plays the youngish Dr Faraday, an aloof and diffident figure who has opportunities in Clement Attlee’s Britain that would have been denied him before the war. He is from a very humble background, the son of a housemaid, but has risen up the social scale and is now a fully qualified country doctor. Faraday has a morbid obsession with Hundreds, the decaying, Brideshead-like pile where his mother worked before he was born. He has vivid memories of visiting the country house for an Empire Day celebration as a child in 1919 when it was still in its pomp. His mother had friends working there and he was allowed inside. What he can’t acknowledge, and what the film takes a long time to tell us about, is his vicious resentment and loathing of his upper class patrons. Abrahamson shows Gleeson as the type who will always lurk in the corner at any social event. He is an awkward and repressed man but seemingly a decent and sympathetic one. With his red hair and pale face, he is not handsome at all. Nor is he charming but he does have a good bedside manner. He is the type others feel comfortable confiding in but who will rarely share any secrets about himself. The Ayres family, the owners of Hundreds, are in dire financial straits. They can’t afford the death duties on the house. The son of the family, Roderick (Will Poulter), is scarred and near crippled by war wounds. The mother, Mrs Ayres (Charlotte Rampling) is haughty in a Miss Havisham-like way but even she is struggling to keep up appearances. The daughter, Caroline (Ruth Wilson), is spirited and intelligent but seems to have been left behind by the world. Their once grand home isn’t just shabby and falling apart. It appears to be haunted. Mrs Ayres’ beloved daughter Susan (‘Suki’), who came face to face with Faraday on his visit to the house, died as a child. Her spirit seems to be behind the strange and terrifying happenings in the house. Abrahamson shows an anthropologist’s eye in the detail with which he depicts the aristocratic family fallen on hard times but desperately trying to cling to its status and dignity. The Ayres can’t pay their bills. They’ve lost the “trick of company” but they have their codes of behaviour. Try as he might, Faraday can’t crack them. In their eyes, he will always be a “common village boy.” Lucinda Coxon’s screenplay picks up on the tiny mannerisms and tics of speech that distinguish the Ayres from less well-born outsiders like Faraday. This is as much an account of a thwarted love affair as it is a ghost story. If it wasn’t so awkward, there would be a certain humour in Faraday’s courtship of Caroline. He is gauche but very dogged. The misfortunes that multiply around her give him his chance. It is not clear, though, whether he is in love with her or is looking to control her. The mood here is similar to that in The Innocents, Jack Clayton’s film adaptation of Henry James’ The Turn Of The Screw. We don’t see any monsters. The terror is in the minds of the protagonists. Abrahamson includes a few familiar devices from more conventional haunted house stories – bells in the servants’ quarters that ring of their own accord, doors that will suddenly slam shut, fires that start from nowhere. Generally, though, the creaks aren’t in the night but are in the tormented psyches of the film’s main protagonists. The Little Stranger doesn’t scare us as often as might have been expected but it is still a disturbing affair. It’s a ghost story in which politics, class and money are the most frightening elements. Domhnall Gleeson may be best known for playing General Hux in Star Wars but he was superb as the traumatised, shell-shocked AA Milne in last year’s Goodbye Christopher Robin. He gives an equally affecting performance here as the repressed and uptight Dr Faraday. He is matched by Ruth Wilson as Caroline, the “awfully brainy” upper class girl treated in such chauvinistic fashion by all the men around her. Wilson shows us Caroline’s resilience, her passion and her fatalism. She is as much a prisoner in the house as any princess in a castle in a fairy tale. The Little Stranger has received a very muted response in the US, where it was released late last month. It is too idiosyncratic and subdued to appeal to fans of the teen-oriented horror movies that dominate the box office. Abrahamson’s approach is the polar opposite to that found in Jason Blum movies. This, though, is a consummately crafted and very subtle film which ends with quite a kick. The Little Stranger — the power of suggestion ★★★★ Nigel Andrews The Financial Times Horror thrillers are teasing duels between the known and unknown. We want their mysteries explained; yet simultaneously we don’t. Explanation can be so banal. Some films present the perfect solution. Keep the audience teased. Right up to, and possibly including, the end. What on earth is happening, for instance, in Hundreds Hall, the decaying English mansion in The Little Stranger? Dr Faraday, cold, shy and neurotic (another repressed Englishman master-crafted by Ireland’s Domhnall Gleeson of Goodbye Christopher Robin), ministers to the tormented lady of the house ( Charlotte Rampling), the war-disfigured son (Will Poulter) and even the malingering maid. The rational but troubled daughter (Ruth Wilson) is the only human easy to handle, so Faraday courts her. His mum used to work in the Hall. Here might be a leg up into the upper class. It is 1948, when such things mattered to some. The storm clouds of socialism are gathering — including the birth of the National Health Service — and Faraday, even unwittingly, wants to play on with the ghosts of the past. Ghosts? Might they include Rampling’s little daughter, dead in childhood? Or is some other spirit rattling the upstairs doors, ringing the servant bells, inspiring a nasty accident to befall another little girl at a party? Sarah Waters’ novel (Man Booker-shortlisted) delivers the subtle frissons to director Lenny Abrahamson. He’s the right man: he makes spooked human comedies/dramas tinged with apocalypse (Frank, Room). Shades of The Innocents (ghosts as psychic projections of the haunted) and Don’t Look Now (little daughter lost) stalk this house. The story doesn’t require visible ghouls. It requires hint, suggestion and a kind of pressure-building restraint. Cinematographer Ole Bratt Birkeland’s muted colours match the mansion’s peeling pastels. Once or twice a fog seems to creep in, opacity’s democratic pall routing the hierarchical contrasts of chiaroscuro. With Gleeson, the female stars clinch this drama of dread and desperation. Rampling, bereavement-haunted, seems to be gnawing herself to death without moving a muscle. Wilson plays a whole set of subtle variations on “normalcy”, their notes encrypting fear, frigidity, passion, longing and — finally perhaps (but watch this ghost space) — the triumph of self-liberation. Film review: The Little Stranger ★★★★ Daily Mail Brian Viner It is 1948. Hundreds Hall in Warwickshire has belonged to the Ayres family for centuries, but crippling death duties have turned it into a slowly crumbling wreck. 'The Labour government won't be happy until we're begging for our lives on street corners,' grunts Roderick Ayres (Will Poulter), a dreadfully disfigured war veteran, who lives in the house with his brisk, spinster sister Caroline (Ruth Wilson) and their grand matriarch of a mother (Charlotte Rampling). The film opens with a village doctor arriving to treat the family maid, Betty (Liv Hill). This is Dr Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson), whose late mother was herself once a servant at Hundreds Hall. Faraday has broken free of his working-class origins. But as he befriends the family, and in particular Caroline, he can never quite escape the nuances of the English class system. In some striking ways, the story, based on the 2009 novel by Sarah Waters, is reminiscent of L. P. Hartley's The Go-Between. Hundreds Hall is a place full of memories, not all of them pleasant. Faraday is fixated by the recollection of a boyhood visit to the house, nearly 30 years earlier, while the family appear to be haunted by another Ayres daughter, Susan, who died as a child. All this coalesces into an effective blend of ghost story, social history and psychological thriller, which is no less compelling for being rather relentlessly gloomy. Gleeson reprises the repressed Englishman role that he performed in last year's Goodbye Christopher Robin, except more so. He possibly could have injected just a little more animation into stiff Dr Faraday, who generally makes an Easter Island statue look like a song-and-dance man. But maybe that's the point. In the parlance of the time, he's rather a queer cove. At any rate, director Lenny Abrahamson and screenwriter Lucinda Coxon have done a fine and powerful job with their source material and are rewarded with one truly mesmerising performance. All the acting is good, but Wilson, as dutiful, unhappy Caroline, stands apart. The Little Stranger review: A very British ghost story that is compellingly strange rather than scary ★★★★ Evening Standard Charlotte O'Sullivan For fans of the uncanny, revenge is a dish best served with no hands. Think of Magneto, Matilda or Carrie. These characters, initially marginalised and abused, use their hurt feelings and indignant brains to bring the powerful to heel. The Little Stranger (an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ 2009 novel) contains just such an upstart. Yet it’s only at the end that we discover whose mind is running the show. (The film, in case you’re wondering, works even better on second viewing.) The Ayres family live in a once grand Warwickshire mansion (imagine a beautiful mouth full of black teeth). Angela (Charlotte Rampling) is still traumatised by the loss of Suki, her preternaturally attractive little daughter. Son Roderick has had his body and nerves shattered in the Second World War. Daughter Caroline (Ruth Wilson) is plain. That’s not actually a tragedy, but people act as if it is. By the way, in the book, Caroline’s legs are “unshaven”. It’s a shame that quirky detail doesn’t make it into the film, but let’s not split hairs. The point is, the family are failing to keep up appearances and worse is to come. In a shockingly vivid scene, a pretty girl is savaged in their home. Our narrator, the pallid local doctor Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson, excellent), knows all about the Ayres family; his mother once worked for them as a maid. He’s clever and diligent. He’s also kind to the poor and respectful towards the Ayres’ current drudge, Betty (newcomer Liv Hill, a revelation). But can he stop the haunting of Hundreds Hall? Faraday, never allowed to forget he’s a prole, is a great character. Sometimes, as if unable to decide whether to swoon or seethe, he goes into a kind of trance, which the camera feasts on. Caroline is even better, stomping through her shabby home like a farmer who’s just spotted a dead sheep. Wilson never overdoes the galumphing; Caroline’s playfulness and loneliness are conveyed just as keenly. Lenny Abrahamson’s last film, which reworked Emma Donoghue’s Room, earned Brie Larson a best actress Oscar. Wilson deserves a nomination at the very least. The Little Stranger has been described as a very British ghost story. Abrahamson (who’s Irish) has now adapted two books by out-and-proud lesbians. He’s fascinated by what insiders fear. He’s not interested in making us jump (actually, he tries it once and bungles it). If you love strange little things, you’ll be smitten. Film Review The Little Stranger ★★★★ Dan Jolin Time Out Lenny Abrahamson adapts Sarah Waters’ ghost story into an understated but satisfyingly spooky snapshot of class in post-War England. Director Lenny Abrahamson knows how to turn small spaces into big drama. His last film (‘Room’) focused on a single, small shed. The one before (‘Frank’) primarily took place in a remote music-studio cabin. With ‘The Little Stranger’ – adapted from Sarah Waters’ gothic novel – he’s expanded to the rather grander scale of an old, English manor house. But it feels no less effectively claustrophobic. That manor house is Hundreds Hall, a decaying, 18th-century estate whose old-money residents, the Ayres family, can barely manage its upkeep during the late ’40s. When their sole maid falls ill, they summon Dr. Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson), a shy, awkward fellow, who soon confesses to having a lifelong obsession with the crumbling mansion since visiting during his childhood and befriends the eldest of the Ayers offspring, the earthy, practical Caroline (Ruth Wilson). But as the stiff, white-collar doctor draws closer to the welly-wearing Caroline and begins to rather creepily exercise his aspiration for the life of the landed gentry, it also becomes evident there is a malevolent presence lurking in the shadows of Hundreds Hall – something seemingly set on accelerating House Ayres’ decline. True to Waters’ book, Abrahamson valiantly resists turning ‘The Little Stranger’ into a full-on horror show, teasing its ghostly strands by delicate degrees, while Gleeson and Wilson’s increasingly uncomfortable relationship occupies the bulk of your attention. Those hoping for ‘Insidious’-like shocks and jump scares may find their patience tested, but to succumb to such frustration is missing the film’s fine point: there may possibly be a spectral threat here, but this is really a story about people haunted by something very different, but just as intangible: namely, class. Film Review The Little Stranger ★★★★ Andy Lea The Express Irish director Lenny Abrahamson allows dread to build very slowly in this handsome period chiller. In the opening scene, Abrahamson, nominated for an Oscar in 2016 for Room, seems to be setting up a typical upstairs, downstairs drama. It is 1948 and we are gazing upon Hundreds Hall, a mansion in rural Warwickshire, through the awestruck eyes of Dr Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson). It is the first time the good doctor has entered the gates since he was a child when his now-deceased mother worked there as a maid. Like all aristocrats, the Ayres family is suffering under the Labour government's death taxes. But the doctor is still transfixed by the crumbling mansion. Faraday is making a house call after being informed that one of the servants has been taken ill. "One of?" laughs Roderick Ayres (Will Poulter), the master of the house and a former RAF pilot who was badly burned in combat during the Second World War. "You'll see." It turns out that the ailing Betty (Liv Hill) is now the only servant who is working in this once-thriving country estate. Like all aristocrats, the Ayres family is suffering under the Labour government's death taxes. But the doctor is still transfixed by the crumbling mansion. A series of flashbacks hint at the root of this obsession. As a child he stole into the house and on a strange impulse broke a plaster flower off one of the ornate cornices. This crime was witnessed by the doctor's mother and Susan (Tipper Seifert-Cleveland), Roderick's long-dead sister. It was a crime that horrified his mother and she could never forgive him for it. Before leaving the house, Faraday meets Mrs Ayres (Charlotte Rampling), Roderick's haughty mother. He also discovers that Roderick's hardworking sister Caroline (Ruth Wilson) is the one who is really running the mansion. Slowly, an awkward romance begins to spark between the stuffy doctor and the free-spirited aristocrat. As the class divisions begin to blur, strange incidents start to happen in the house. A girl is left horribly injured at a dinner party and strange symbols start appearing on the walls. The doctor tries to find rational explanations. But as the strange occurrences pile up, Faraday's stiff upper lip appears to quiver. In the finale, Abrahamson resorts to the twists and turns of the typical haunted house movie. But it is that slow build-up that will stay with you.
London, 10 January 2020 Principal photography began this week in Yorkshire on THE DUKE starring Academy Award winners Jim Broadbent (Iris) and Helen Mirren (The Queen) and featuring Fionn Whitehead (Dunkirk) and Matthew Goode (The Imitation Game). THE DUKE, based on a remarkable true story of one man’s attempt to make a better world, is directed by BAFTA award winner Roger Michell (My Cousin Rachel, Notting Hill). The film is based on a script written by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) and Clive Coleman and is produced by Nicky Bentham (Moon) of Neon Films. In 1961, Kempton Bunton, a 60 year old taxi driver, stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. It was the first (and remains the only) theft in the Gallery’s history. Kempton sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government invested more in care for the elderly - he had long campaigned for pensioners to receive free television. What happened next became the stuff of legend. Only 50 years later did the full story emerge - Kempton had spun a web of lies. The only truth was that he was a good man, determined to change the world and save his marriage - how and why he used the Duke to achieve that is a wonderfully uplifting tale. Michell reunites with his creative team from My Cousin Rachel: Director of Photography Mike Eley, Costume Designer Dinah Collin and Editor Kristina Hetherington. Make Up and Hair Designer is Karen Hartley Thomas (The Personal History of David Copperfield) and Production Designer is Kristian Milsted (Killing Eve). THE DUKE is a Pathé, Ingenious Media and Screen Yorkshire presentation of a Neon Films Production. Executive Producers are Cameron McCracken and Jenny Borgars for Pathé, Andrea Scarso for Ingenious Media and Hugo Heppell for Screen Yorkshire. Pathé will distribute the film in the UK, France and Switzerland and will handle sales for the rest of the world. For further information contact: Jonathan Rutter/ Emma Eliades Robinson / Ellen Steers, Premier Firstname.email@example.com / 020 7292 8330 ABOUT PATHÉ Pathé operates as a film studio in France, the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland. It is involved in all aspects of filmmaking, from development and production through to international sales, distribution and exhibition. Films produced/distributed by Pathé range from The Queen to Slumdog Millionaire and from Philomena to Selma. Pathe’s latest production is Judy starring Renee Zellweger. In recent years Pathé’s productions have won 16 BAFTAs (66 nominations) and 13 Oscars (46 nominations). Pathé International handles the international marketing and sales of Pathé’s own productions and also acquires third party films for worldwide representation. As one of Europe’s leading sales agents, Pathé International has a significant presence at all major film markets and festivals. www.pathe.co.uk @patheuk ABOUT INGENIOUS MEDIA For 21 years, Ingenious Media has been at the forefront of investing in the global creative economy and in that time has raised and deployed over $10 billion. Ingenious Media has been involved in the production of a diverse slate of films, including the award-winning Life of Pi, Avatar, Oscar-nominated Carol, Brooklyn and Selma, five films in the successful X-Men franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, breakout British hits Suffragette and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as acclaimed television programmes such as The Fall, Dr. Foster and The Honourable Woman. Titles currently on release or coming soon include Judy starring Renée Zellweger, Peter Cattaneo’s Military Wives starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Benedict Andrews’s Seberg starring Kristen Stewart and Jack O’Connell. ABOUT SCREEN YORKSHIRE Screen Yorkshire champions the film, TV, games and digital industries in Yorkshire and the Humber, UK. Its aim is to secure and support the very best projects, companies and individuals, helping to make the region one of the most sought-after destinations for production in the UK. Screen Yorkshire offers production financing through its Yorkshire Content Fund. Credits include: Official Secrets, Hope Gap, All Creatures Great and Small, Ackley Bridge, Dark River, Yardie, Ghost Stories, Stardog & Turbocat, Journeyman, Dad’s Army, Swallows and Amazons, Testament of Youth, ’71, National Treasure, The Great Train Robbery, Peaky Blinders, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and Hank Zipzer. Screen Yorkshire delivers the Film Office services for Yorkshire & Humber and has been leading the development of the Yorkshire Screen Hub, a cluster for the screen industries, recognised by the BFI in 2016 as the first awardee of funds from its Creative Cluster Challenge Fund. Screen Yorkshire also works with ScreenSkills, NFTS and the BFI to develop regional and UK wide talent by devising and delivering industry schemes www.screenyorkshire.co.uk @screenyorkshire
THE LITTLE STRANGER
THE GUARDIAN'S PETER BRADSHAW GIVES THE LITTLE STRANGER 4 STARS The haunts of childhood are revisited in this oppressively macabre ghost story, set in the miserable austerity of late-40s Britain and in some ways a metaphor for the nation’s complex sense of sacrificial loss. Screenwriter Lucinda Coxon has adapted the 2009 novel by Sarah Waters and Lenny Abrahamson directs, bringing to it the sense of enclosing dread and claustrophobic dysfunction familiar from his previous picture, the abduction-abuse nightmare Room. The Little Stranger is fluently made and really well acted, particularly by Ruth Wilson, though maybe a bit too constrained by period-movie prestige to be properly scary. Domhnall Gleeson plays Faraday, a young Warwickshire country doctor: first name unmentioned, second name perhaps an allusion to the famous scientist, given his belief in electric-current massage for pain-relief and his non-belief in ghosts. He has a ramrod-straight bearing, a clipped moustache and equally clipped manner of speaking, very different from the relaxed, worldly manner of his fellow medics. Gleeson’s performance suggests he’s affecting a severe professionalism to cover up his lowly origins. It’s the summer of 1948 and Faraday finds himself back in the village where he grew up, and one of his very first house-calls is to the grand mansion that fascinated him as a boy, Hundreds Hall. A maidservant there, Betty (Liv Hill) has stomach pains, but Faraday’s no-nonsense examination reveals them to be exaggerated or invented. A female-hysteric case of nerves, as often airily diagnosed by the male profession of the day – or something darker, weirder? At the same time, Faraday makes the acquaintance of the family. The notional master of the house is Rod Ayres (Will Poulter), a former RAF pilot badly burned in combat, who now has depression, and is grumpily obsessed with the way the house is deteriorating and the Labour government’s punitive death duties. His mother, Mrs Ayres, is in situ: enigmatic, reserved, disquieting and played by Charlotte Rampling. But the real boss is Rod’s hardworking sister, Caroline, outstandingly played by Wilson. She is friendly and unselfconsciously careless of her appearance in ways that will seem eccentric as she grows older, an English countrywoman of the sort imagined by Nancy Mitford. But all three seem to be going slowly mad in their own ways, driven to the brink by something in the house itself. Faraday’s own secret is that his late mother was a maid at Hundreds Hall and he has come to think of this strange, dilapidated place and its strange, dilapidated family as exemplars of prewar innocence: a bizarre version of Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead. And as his friendship with Caroline blossoms into a nervous, protective romance, there is the thrill of a romantic or sexual conquest over his own humble beginnings. But there is something else. Faraday is obsessed with the memory of attending a party there as a child, breaking an ornate picture frame and being caught in the act by Rod and Caroline’s adored sister Suki – who later died of diphtheria at eight years old. Has Faraday’s remembered transgression and present-day quasi-haunting accelerated a supernatural crisis? Abrahamson shows how the awful tensions and rigidities of the English class system create the right atmosphere of denial – they incubate the horror. A stratum of society that holds on to the past is ripe for haunting. There is an excruciating scene in which Faraday is invited to an evening drinks party there (black tie, naturally) and the other attendees have to be periodically reminded that he is there as a guest, an equal, and no one is ill. But then there is a grisly incident, a moment of nightmarish horror in which Faraday’s qualifications turn out to be vital. It is at an event like this that poor Rod, unable or unwilling to leave his chaotic room, reveals himself to be paralysed with fear at what the house contains. Wilson’s Caroline is the beating heart of the film and she is superb, not least in a scene at a local dance, where she is thrilled to recognise a female friend from wartime and dances extravagantly with her – to Faraday’s chagrin – hinting at a sexual identity she has concealed from everyone, especially herself. And all the time, the sinister presence in the house grows, like mould on the walls. An elegant, sinister tale of the uncanny, with its own streak of pathos.
After ten weeks of filming, Pedro Almodóvar has wrapped principal photography on his long-awaited upcoming film, Parallel Mothers, and we have the great pleasure of sharing first look images and videos with you. With Parallel Mothers Pedro Almodóvar returns, in his words, to the feminine universe, to motherhood and to family. The film has a magnificent cast with Penelope Cruz, Milena Smit and Aitana Sánchez-Gijón playing the story’s three mothers, and Israel Elejalde in the lead male role. This extraordinary cast is completed by Julieta Serrano and Rossy de Palma. Produced by El Deseo, with the participation of RTVE and Netflix, Sony Pictures Entertainment Iberia will handle its distribution in cinemas in Spain. You can watch the clip from Parallel Mothers at https://youtu.be/fBi4ysMDBu4 To DOWNLOAD THE MATERIALS in high-quality and web-optimised formats you can register at http://prensa.eldeseo.es For press information please do not hesitate to contact Sophie Glover: Tel: + 44 7917 045 875 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gurinder Chadha’s VICEROY’S HOUSE will be released in UK cinemas on 3rd March 2017. The film tells the true story of the final months of British rule in India and its release will coincide with the 70th Anniversary of the Independence of India and the founding of Pakistan. Pathe is today launching the very first trailer and poster in support of the film’s release. The British cast is led by Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Paddington) as Lord Mountbatten; Gillian Anderson (The X Files, The Fall) as his wife, Lady Mountbatten; Lily Travers (Kingsman) as their daughter, Pamela; and Michael Gambon (Harry Potter, Quartet) and Simon Callow (A Room With A View, Four Weddings and a Funeral) as key civil servants. The Indian and Pakistani cast is led by Manish Dayal (The Hundred Foot Journey), Huma Qureshi (Gangs of Wasseypur) and Om Puri (The Hundred Foot Journey, East Is East). The roles of the principal political leaders are played by Tanveer Ghani (Nehru), Denzil Smith (Jinnah) and Neeraj Kabi (Gandhi). It is a story that is deeply personal to Gurinder, whose own family was caught up in the tragic events that unfolded as the Raj came to an end. Viceroy’s House in Delhi was the home of the British rulers of India. After 300 years, that rule was coming to an end. For 6 months in 1947, Lord Mountbatten, great grandson of Queen Victoria, assumed the post of the last Viceroy, charged with handing India back to its people. The film’s story unfolds within that great House. Upstairs lived Mountbatten together with his wife and daughter; downstairs lived their 500 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants. As the political elite - Nehru, Jinnah and Gandhi - converged on the House to wrangle over the birth of independent India, conflict erupted. A decision was taken to divide the country and create a new Muslim homeland: Pakistan. It was a decision whose consequences reverberate to this day. The film examines these events through the prism of a marriage - that of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten - and a romance - that between a young Hindu servant, Jeet, and his intended Muslim bride, Aalia. The young lovers find themselves caught up in the seismic end of Empire, in conflict with the Mountbattens and with their own communities, but never ever giving up hope. VICEROY’S HOUSE is a film that is both epic and intimate, with an inspirational message that celebrates tolerance. Many of the events depicted are either unknown or forgotten, but all have strong contemporary relevance in terms of lessons to be learnt concerning the politics of division and fear, the origins of religious extremism, and our moral responsibility towards migrants fleeing violence for a better life. VICEROY’S HOUSE is directed by Gurinder Chadha (Bend it like Beckham) with a screenplay by Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges and Moira Buffini, and is produced by Deepak Nayar (Bend it like Beckham, The End of Violence, Buena Vista Social Club), Gurinder Chadha and Paul Mayeda Berges. The film is executive produced by Pathé’s Cameron McCracken, Reliance’s Shibasish Sarkar, BBC Films' Christine Langan, the BFI’s Natascha Wharton and Ingenious Media’s Tim O’Shea. The film is a Pathé, Reliance, BBC Films, Ingenious and BFI presentation of a Bend It Films/Deepak Nayar Production in association with the FilmVast and Filmgate Films. VICEROY’S HOUSE opens on 3 March 2017 Running time: 1hr 46 mins Certificate: 12A Trailer can be found here: DOWNLOAD: http://video.thinkjam.com/video/pathe/Viceroys_House/trailer_1080p_3march.zip YOUTUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=id_ZyNdvXKQ Images can be downloaded on: www.image.net Twitter www.twitter.com/ViceroysHouse #ViceroysHouse Facebook www.facebook.com/ViceroysHouseFilm Website www.ViceroysHouse.co.uk For further press information please contact Freuds: Kerry McGlone / Emma Welby T: +44 (0) 20 3003 6413 email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org For online press enquiries: Emily Darling Tel: + 44 20 7324 0088 email@example.com
THE DUKE was awarded 5 stars from The Guardian, Daily Telegraph, and Daily Mail following the World Premiere at the Venice Film Festival. Robbie Collin from The Daily Telegraph wrote that “Oscars surely beckon” for THE DUKE: “Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren “give two of the finest performances of their careers”. The Guardian’s Xan Brooks followed with similar praise, describing the film as “lovely, rousing & moving…unashamedly sentimental and resolutely old-fashioned in the best sense of the term”. Brian Viner from The Daily Mail called THE DUKE “beautifully scripted… an art heist yarn that will steal your heart”, whilst The Times’ Kevin Maher heaped praise upon the film’s director and leading star: “Broadbent is astounding… one of the standout performances of his career. Roger Michell should also take a bow. With The Duke, he is marked out as one of the country’s most versatile mainstream filmmakers”. The British comedy-drama will be released in cinemas in 2021.
London, 28 October 2019 Pathé today announced that they will be presenting at the American Film Market a new feature film, THE DUKE, to be directed by BAFTA winner Roger Michell (Notting Hill) and set to star Academy Award Winners Jim Broadbent (Iris) and Helen Mirren (The Queen) as husband and wife, KEMPTON and DOROTHY BUNTON. The screenplay for the dramatic comedy has been written by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Guvnors) and Clive Coleman and is based on a remarkable true story of one man’s attempt to make a better world: In 1961, Kempton Bunton, a 60 year old taxi driver, stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London. It was the first (and remains the only) theft in the Gallery’s history. Kempton sent ransom notes saying that he would return the painting on condition that the government agreed to provide television for free to the elderly. What happened next became the stuff of legend. Only 50 years later did the full story emerge - Kempton had spun a web of lies. The only truth was that he was a good man, determined to change the world and save his marriage - how and why he used the Duke to achieve that is a wonderfully uplifting tale. THE DUKE will start principal photography in January 2020. The film will be produced by Nicky Bentham (Moon) and is a Neon Films production for Pathé, Ingenious Media and Screen Yorkshire. Executive Producers are Cameron McCracken and Jenny Borgars for Pathé; Andrea Scarso for Ingenious Media; and Hugo Heppell for Screen Yorkshire. Pathé will distribute the film in the UK, France and Switzerland and will handle sales throughout the rest of the world. For further information contact: Sophie Glover, Head of Publicity, Pathé UK Sophie.firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 7462 4415 ABOUT PATHÉ Pathé operates as a film studio in France, the UK, the Netherlands and Switzerland. It is involved in all aspects of filmmaking, from development and production through to international sales, distribution and exhibition. Films produced/distributed by Pathé range from The Queen to Slumdog Millionaire and from Philomena to Selma. Pathe’s most recent production is Judy starring Renee Zellweger. In recent years Pathé’s productions have won 16 BAFTAs (66 nominations) and 13 Oscars (46 nominations). Pathé International handles the international marketing and sales of Pathé’s own productions and also acquires third party films for worldwide representation. As one of Europe’s leading sales agents, Pathé International has a significant presence at all major film markets and festivals. www.pathe.co.uk @patheuk ABOUT INGENIOUS MEDIA For 21 years, Ingenious Media has been at the forefront of investing in the global creative economy and in that time has raised and deployed over $10 billion. Ingenious Media has been involved in the production of a diverse slate of films, including the award-winning Life of Pi, Avatar, Oscar-nominated Carol, Brooklyn and Selma, five films in the successful X-Men franchise, Rise of the Planet of the Apes and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, breakout British hits Suffragette and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, as well as acclaimed television programmes such as The Fall, Dr. Foster and The Honourable Woman. Titles currently on release or coming soon include Judy starring Renée Zellweger, Peter Cattaneo’s Military Wives starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Benedict Andrews’s Seberg starring Kristen Stewart and Jack O’Connell. ABOUT SCREEN YORKSHIRE Screen Yorkshire champions the film, TV, games and digital industries in Yorkshire and the Humber, UK. Its aim is to secure and support the very best projects, companies and individuals, helping to make the region one of the most sought-after destinations for production in the UK. Screen Yorkshire offers production financing through its Yorkshire Content Fund. Credits include: Official Secrets, Hope Gap, All Creatures Great and Small, Ackley Bridge, Dark River, Yardie, Ghost Stories, Stardog & Turbocat, Journeyman, Dad’s Army, Swallows and Amazons, Testament of Youth, ’71, National Treasure, The Great Train Robbery, Peaky Blinders, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell and Hank Zipzer. Screen Yorkshire delivers the Film Office services for Yorkshire & Humber and has been leading the development of the Yorkshire Screen Hub, a cluster for the screen industries, recognised by the BFI in 2016 as the first awardee of funds from its Creative Cluster Challenge Fund. Screen Yorkshire also works with ScreenSkills, NFTS and the BFI to develop regional and UK wide talent by devising and delivering industry schemes www.screenyorkshire.co.uk @screenyorkshire
THE LITTLE STRANGER
Praise for THE LITTLE STRANGER as the first reviews break. THE LOS ANGELES TIMES A slow-building shiver of a movie, “The Little Stranger” tells a familiar but pleasurably engrossing story. Adapted from a 2009 novel by the Welsh author Sarah Waters, this atmospheric postwar gothic unfolds at a crumbling English manor where the repressed have decided to return — not with a vengeance, exactly, but with motives shrouded in uncertainty and sorrow. It’s a haunting that unfolds through the steady, skeptical gaze of a local doctor who is at once seduced by the grandeur of this country estate and blind to its lurking phantoms. Bad frights, good manners, the timeless clash between rationalism and belief: We are in unassailable if hardly original dramatic territory. And the gifted Irish director Lenny Abrahamson, no doubt aware of the hovering specters of “The Turn of the Screw,” “The Haunting of Hill House” and their various literary and cinematic descendants, does not commit the folly of trying to outdo them. Until its unnerving third act, “The Little Stranger” plays less like a horror movie than a drama about a family’s steady unraveling, punctuated by intimations of a deeper, weirder unease. Abrahamson’s weapon of choice is understatement. There are no whooshing camera movements, no cheap shocks, no sudden bursts of computer-generated ectoplasm. A pervasive gloom is achieved and sustained using little more than meticulous underlighting, moldering production design and stately compositions that capture the house’s long-faded beauty and its cavernous emptiness. The director has more visual space to work with than he did in the first half of “Room,” his Oscar-winning 2015 film about a mother and son living in captivity, but he proves adept here at evoking a more implicit, psychological kind of confinement. He also reaffirms his gift for dramatizing a story told by a curiously unreliable narrator, and distilling some but not all the author’s vocal nuances into cinematic form. This is no small feat, since the stiffly restrained Dr. Faraday (a fine Domhnall Gleeson) is hardly the most emotionally expressive of protagonists, and Lucinda Coxon’s sharp script wisely refuses the crutch of voice-over. Instead the movie simply keeps us close to Faraday’s side as he’s brought in to examine a nervous young maid, Betty (Liv Hill), at the venerable Hundreds Hall, which he fondly recalls having visited as a boy after the end of World War I. Nearly 30 years later, England has emerged from another global cataclysm, and Hundreds Hall, not unlike Brideshead Castle before it, has fallen on hard times. So have the house’s surviving residents, particularly Roderick Ayres (Will Poulter), a former pilot still recovering from serious war wounds. His mother, Mrs. Ayres (Charlotte Rampling, steely as ever), and his sister, Caroline (a splendid Ruth Wilson), maintain sharp wits and a chipper demeanor even in the wake of their dwindling fortune, which makes it inevitable that they will have to give up their estate. Faraday quickly becomes enough of a family friend — and perhaps something more, in Caroline’s case — to object to the idea of their selling Hundreds Hall, a feeling rooted in his childhood attachment to the place. A few recurring flashbacks illuminate that boyhood visit, during which we glimpse Mrs. Ayres’ eldest child, Susan, who fell ill and died shortly thereafter. When strange things start to happen back in the present — an intimate cocktail party that turns startlingly violent, a sudden decline in Roderick’s condition — you brace yourself for Susan’s ghost to make an appearance. She does and she doesn’t. Like some of the best ghost stories, “The Little Stranger” is in no hurry to solve its own mystery. Even when Abrahamson allows the steady drip of tension to finally give way to door-rattling, glass-shattering terror, there remains something fundamentally oblique and unreadable about precisely what is haunting the Ayres estate. I’ve developed my own hunch, based particularly on the names Waters gives her characters, one of which directly invokes the dramatis personae of a famous Agatha Christie novel. But hunches alone may not satisfy those moviegoers for whom nothing is scarier, or more off-putting, than a little narrative ambiguity. Happily, “The Little Stranger” has more than whodunit on its mind. Some of Abrahamson’s earlier films, including “Garage” and “What Richard Did,” have shown an acute sensitivity to class, and here he duly acknowledges the envy that has driven Faraday, a housemaid’s son, into the company of an aristocratic family whose enviable way of life is swiftly passing away. A fascinating counterpoint soon emerges in the form of Caroline, who seems all too ready to bid farewell to the good old days. Played by Wilson in the movie’s most memorable performance, Caroline is a figure of serene defiance, calmly and sometimes joyously pushing back against society’s dismissal of her as a hopeless spinster. She gives this ghost story its fiercely independent spirit. THE NEW YORK TIMES Hundreds Hall is the name of a grand pile of brick in Warwickshire, England, and if you’re moderately familiar with movies and television — “Downton Abbey,” “Crimson Peak,” the “Ghostbusters” reboot — you have no doubt seen hundreds like it. Its sprawling grounds and cavernous rooms evoke ancient aristocratic privilege, but by the late 1940s, when “The Little Stranger” takes place, that grandeur has begun to fade. Dr. Faraday — we never seem to catch his first name — remembers it well. An ambitious provincial physician whose mother worked as a maid during the house’s glory days under the Ayres family, he looks back fondly on a summer day he spent there in 1919, when he was 8 years old and local commoners were invited to a fair. Now he finds himself treating the remaining members of the Ayreses, who are barely hanging onto their fast-decaying ancestral home. Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson) is haunted by Hundreds Hall. The Hall itself also seems to be haunted, though it’s not always clear by what or whom. The best guess seems to be a little girl named Suki Ayres, who died shortly after Faraday’s long-ago visit. Her mother (Charlotte Rampling) still lives there, along with her two surviving, grown-up children: Roderick (Will Poulter), who was badly wounded in World War II, and Caroline (Ruth Wilson), “the cleverest of the lot” (according to a family friend), who drifts toward eccentric spinsterhood. The staff has been winnowed to one, a young woman named Betty (Liv Hill), who figures out that something creepy is going on long before anyone else seems to have a clue. Directed by Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”) and adapted by Lucinda Coxon from Sarah Waters’s skillfully written Gothic novel, “The Little Stranger” is for much of its running time more interested in the sociological and psychological implications of Faraday’s encounter with the Ayreses and their real estate than with any overtly supernatural doings. Faraday, who serves as a possibly unreliable voice-over narrator, is buttoned up as tight as a waistcoat, only sometimes betraying the ruthless effort that his sang-froid requires. He is always aware of being an interloper — a commoner promoted to “one of us” ironically or in emergencies — and his attempts to fit in make this strangeness more glaring. Mr. Gleeson is adept at this double game. His face is as sharp as a hawk’s but somehow also as soft and unformed as a fledgling sparrow’s. Faraday makes a practice of keeping all feeling in check, presenting himself both as a rational man of science and as the possessor of an exemplary stiff upper lip. As news of the political weather buzzes in the background — the advent of the National Health Service; land sales and tax policies promoted by Clement Attlee’s Labour government — Faraday mourns the waning of old ruling-class prerogatives more plangently than the Ayreses themselves, who would seem to have more to lose. His loyalty to them is more than they deserve or desire. The twisting and cracking of the British class system is always fascinating to observe, and “The Little Stranger” traces the details of its chosen moment of social change with precision and subtlety, and with its own layers of somewhat dubious nostalgia. Since it’s also a horror movie, subtlety can go only go so far, and the past becomes a trunk mined for spooky costumes and effects. There are a few jump scares and shocking images, but Mr. Abrahamson lets the dread build slowly, nudged along by Stephen Rennicks’s mournful, eerie score and Ole Bratt Birkeland’s brown-shadowed cinematography. As Faraday draws closer to the Ayreses, a question starts to percolate. Are they just odd and miserable, or is something more sinister afoot? Poor Roderick, inwardly and outwardly maimed by the war, teeters floridly toward madness and alcoholism, but what about Caroline and her mother? Are they sheltering a sinister secret? And what does the specter of Suki want — if that is indeed what rattles the door frames and carves squiggles in the wainscoting. As is usually the case in movies like this, the answer is not quite as intriguing as the queasy guesswork that precedes its revelation. But the ending is less of a letdown than it might have been, and the final shots are potent and provocative, sending you back over what came before with new ideas and questions. The twist has less to do with who is haunting whom than with spectral methods and motives, and with the fantasies of belonging that dwell within Hundreds Hall’s walls. ROLLING STONE The way Focus Features kept cancelling scheduled screenings of The Little Stranger made me think it had a stiff on its hands. Hardly. Though this meditation on the past — disguised as a haunted-house thriller — has its faults, the film is better than most of the junk cluttering the multiplex these days (looking at you, The Happytime Murders). Director Lenny Abrahamson earned much-deserved raves for 2015’s Room, which won a Best Actress Oscar for Brie Larson. So why sweep his latest, starring the talented likes of Ruth Wilson, Domhnall Gleason and Charlotte Rampling, under a rug? Based on the 2009 a novel by Sarah Waters, The Little Stranger is perhaps hurt by a neo-Gothic atmosphere of dread that may lead audiences to expect cheap horror-show scares. But Abrahamson is far more interested in the bruised humanity of his characters. Gleeson brings hidden layers to the tightly-wound, perpetually glum Faraday, a Warwickshire country doctor of humble origins who finds himself called, in the summer of 1948, to make a professional visit to Hundreds Hall, a mansion where his mother once worked as a maid. Home to the Ayres family for centuries, the Hall has seen better days — you can almost smell it decaying. But the family matriarch, Angela (Rampling, reliably superb) still rules as if by divine right. Angela’s son Roderick (Will Poulter) has returned from the war covered in burn scars that underscore his even more serious PTSD. His sister Caroline (Wilson) appears normal enough for even the austere Faraday to develop an instant crush — but at Hundreds Hall, looks can be deceiving. Has Angela really ever gotten over her first daughter, Susan, who died years before at the tender age of eight? Is it the ghost of Susan making the floors groan, filling the halls with a banging noise and ringing a servant’s bell from an empty room? It only sounds like a setup for a mid-century Paranormal Activity. Abrahamson cleverly uses the house as a metaphor for crumbling sanity. Witness the effect on Faraday, who is drawn back to his childhood when he (the titular little stranger) visited the Hall in its heyday, and felt “its cool, fragrant spaces” fill his dreams. In flashback, Abrahamson recreates the day of that glorious visit, with young Faraday (Oliver Zetterstrom) imagining himself part of a world out of reach. The class system and its ruthless pecking order is something Abrahamson sews into the fabric of his film. Faraday’s courtship of Caroline is just another way to belong. Kudos to Wilson (how has she not won an Emmy for her brilliant work on The Affair?), who builds what seems at first like a peripheral character into the defiant soul of the movie. In the final scenes, Abrahamson reverts to the twists and tropes of the typical ghost story. But before that, he uses shivery suspense and a keen sense of character to craft The Little Stranger into a hypnotic and haunting tale of how the past can grab hold of the flesh-and-blood present and squeeze. Don’t let this mesmerizing mystery slip between the cracks of studio neglect and marketing indifference. It’s spellbinding. THE WASHINGTON POST Most haunted houses, at least in movies, share basic qualities: They are empty, dilapidated and the floorboards creak a little too much. This blueprint affords filmmakers the opportunity to create a sense of foreboding, usually culminating in a jump scare and a jolt of music. At first glance, “The Little Stranger” seems to have been shaped by the same cookie cutter used for countless haunted-house films before it. But director Lenny Abrahamson is far more ambitious than that. His follow-up to 2015’s “Room” — which earned the Irish filmmaker an Oscar nomination for best director — is a character-driven psychological thriller, one whose larger implications will trouble your mind, like a ghost. We cross the threshold of the house in question, Hundreds Hall, with one Dr. Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson), a kindly country doctor. World War II has recently ended, and Faraday has returned to the village of his youth to take up private practice with a partner. His patient at the Hall — once resplendent, but now fallen into disrepair — is the lone maid (Liv Hill) for the lady of the house, Mrs. Ayres (Charlotte Rampling), who lives with her adult children Caroline (Ruth Wilson) and Roddy (Will Poulter), a badly wounded veteran. Faraday soon ingratiates himself with the family, treating Roddy’s wounds and developing a friendship with Caroline. The house also has a mysterious quality, one that no one can quite articulate. Before long, everyone living there begins to worry they might be going mad. Adapted from a 2009 novel by Sarah Waters, the screenplay by playwright Lucinda Coxon drips with quiet menace. Faraday, who narrates the film, returns again and again to a formative moment from his childhood: one in which the still-grand mansion — where his mother once worked as a maid — captured his imagination. On one level, class has informed his lifelong obsession with the house: the middle-class Faradays only knew such opulence as outsiders. Faraday’s relationship with the Ayreses complicates the drama. At the beginning of the story, he’s almost like a servant, obeying their every whim. But soon he has become so indispensable that Caroline and the others begin to think of him as family. Gleeson’s finely crafted performance is key to this transformation — with his friendly yet decorous demeanor gradually revealing a manipulative edge. “The Little Stranger” is a counterintuitive choice for Abrahamson, who has never made a period film. But what’s more surprising is how this story doesn’t fit neatly into a simple genre. Thematically, it’s close to the director’s “Frank,” which also starred Gleeson, as the newest member of an underappreciated indie rock band. In both films, the actor plays an interloper entering insular worlds. He is the source of both films’ tension. As a director, Abrahamson uses that sense of the detached observer as a scalpel, whittling away at our expectations of horror films until we have no choice but to look at — and really listen to — what is happening. It’s an approach that requires patience, on his part and ours, but the rewards are worth it. At the heart of “The Little Stranger” is its ghost story, of sorts, one whose horror sequences build toward a sense of cautious inevitability, with the methodical pace of a figure wandering a dimly lit hallway. These moments are more creepy than gory or intense, and what makes them effective is their ambiguity. There are always two explanations for what we have seen: one scientific (typically offered by Faraday) and another suggestive of something more supernatural. The film’s best sequence is its shortest, with Caroline uttering a single word that throws all that we think we know into disarray. Focus Features, it would seem, does not have the faith in “Little Stranger” that the film deserves, releasing it the end of August, a traditional dumping ground for genre films. But this slow-burn thriller — whose power lies in its dark, elusive nature — delivers few genuine scares, and more mannered, nuanced dialogue than answers. No matter what you make of the film’s final minutes, which are as open to interpretation as everything that has come before, each of the main characters has contributed to that sense of equivocation in ways that are deliciously macabre. VARIETY “Moldy” is not generally an adjective most filmmakers would like to hear directed at their work, yet it applies, rather eerily and gorgeously, to “The Little Stranger.” Lenny Abrahamson and screenwriter Lucinda Coxon’s refined, deliberate adaptation of Sarah Waters’ neo-Gothic novel has the sense, in style and mood, of having been discovered in a neglected cupboard of a stately home not unlike the one in which it takes place, covered in mossy growth that has left an inerasable sage-green patina on the print. Its characters, too, are dusted down from an era distant from our own, yet it’s clear they creaked with dejection and disuse even in their supposed prime. “The Little Stranger” may be elegantly fashioned as a haunted-house thriller, but the relationships at its core are spooked by sadness well before things start to go bump in the night. That may prove a commercial stumbling block to what is otherwise, for Abrahamson, a fine, form-expanding follow-up to the Oscar-approved “Room.” Genre fans in the market for some old-school horror may be surprised to find an undeniably unsettling but sober-sided human study of very English class conflict and aspirational desire, the light supernatural swirlings of which mostly work to aggravate more earthly crises of loneliness, grief and stiff-upper-lipped romance. Adult audiences looking past the gothic trappings, however, will be rewarded with a heritage drama as delicate as the cobwebs in its corners — set a tad off-balance by Domhnall Gleeson’s miscasting in the central role of a shy working-class doctor fixated on the tangled domestic woes of his poshest clients, but given a bruised, beating heart by the superb Ruth Wilson, as his wounded object of affection. “This house works on people,” says Mrs. Ayres (Charlotte Rampling), withered lady of the manor at Hundreds Hall, a grand but gone-to-seed mansion in England’s Warwickshire district. “Specks of grit, ten years later, leave as pearls.” Her second statement is debatable: The “pearls” emerging from the place, including her trauma-stricken adult children Roderick (Will Poulter) and Caroline (Wilson) and their plainly petrified young housemaid Bette (Liv Hill, a wonderfully expressive newcomer), are cracked and costume-quality at best, the family’s once-lavish fortunes having dwindled to scraps after the Second World War — which has also left Roderick (Will Poulter) disfiguringly battle-scarred, inside and out. Another daughter, Suki, never had the chance to leave, having been felled by diphtheria in childhood, though her spectre of angelic perfection hovers over her younger, less cherished siblings. But Mrs. Ayres is right about the house’s influence: Hundreds Hall certainly does a number on Faraday (Gleeson), a local villager of humble stock whose mother once worked there as a servant. Enthralled by its opulence as a child, he retains his awe even as he’s invited in as the family physician. A cautious bond steadily builds between him and Caroline, a bright, jaded, friendless young woman amused by the good doctor’s romanticization of their plight, who dreams of a more modern, independent life beyond the Hall’s damp, weary walls. Faraday, for his part, can’t see why she’d want to leave; as their relationship hovers coyly on the brink of something less platonic, it’s unclear whether he’s attracted more to Caroline or the home that’s suffocating her. Coxon’s patient, literate screenplay astutely preserves the tart class politics of Waters’ novel. The Labour government’s post-war austerity may have stripped the Ayres clan of their material privilege, yet Faraday remains wonderstruck by their legacy, desperate to attach himself to it by any means necessary. When Mrs. Ayres, having invited Faraday to make up the numbers at an ill-fated soiree, passingly refers to him as “one of us,” his sense of achievement is all too heartbreakingly palpable: Can he not see that the Ayreses are effectively living ghosts, left behind by a changing world and confined to the shuttered ruins of past glories? And when the Hall starts showing its own uncanny symptoms of haunting — squiggly scratch marks on the walls, bells ringing out of thin air — is he being warned off or beckoned? From a burgeoning National Health Service to a new housing estate rising from the Ayreses sold-off fields, signs of social progress surround Faraday, yet the onetime servant’s son remains oddly resistant to them all, still beholden to boyish fantasies of wealth. Whether Gleeson is a slightly awkward fit as Faraday, or simply reading the character’s awkwardness, is hard to say. Poker-straight and sallow, with a neat, pale mustache that seems grown as a stand-in for doctorly authority, he brings the right streak of vulnerability to the doctor’s self-loathing conservatism — but still seems too callow for the part, particularly when the script calls for him to assert a decade’s life experience over Caroline. Either way, Wilson’s extraordinary performance rules the film, weaving a lifetime of accumulating disappointment into a single arched eyebrow. (Her look of droll, pitying disbelief when Faraday remarks on her beauty is a second-long masterclass.) Always best in parts with complex worry lines, Wilson brings an exquisitely ironed-in sense of rueful defeat to a character who would never deem herself sympathetic: She wears her markers of class, from clipped accent to confident gait, in brackets of apology throughout. As for Hundreds Hall, it may have become critical cliché to refer to locations as characters, but given its shifting psychological impositions on the human ensemble, it’s hard not to see it as such. Production designer Simon Elliott wastes no ashy crevice or cornice of the space, distressing it to dazzling effect in spoiled, soiled shades of green and puce: You can practically see the smoke stains in the velvet upholstery, or the lush woodland murals in the drawing room rotting into real nature. Under the steady, composed gaze of d.p. Ole Bratt Birkeland, in certain shots, even the actors’ faces appear to succumb to verdigris — no accident, one suspects, in a creepingly paced film that takes its time to show how a ruined environment weathers those living, just barely, inside it.