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Eternal Daughter, The


Stars: Tilda Swinton, Joseph Mydell, Carly-Sophia Davies

Director: Joanna Hogg

Dimly lit and agonisingly slow, with mournful background music, this would-be chiller, on the shelf for the past two years, has BFI and BBC Films written all over it: a would-be prestige project that will turn mainstream cinemagoers away in droves.

Julie Hart (Swinton), a troubled film-maker, arrives at a vast, rambling hotel, which was once, if you can believe it, her childhood home, with her mother (also Swinton) and dog in tow. She seems to have trouble getting the right room, even though she booked months in advance, and there seem to be few, if any, other guests around.

There's something odd about the whole set-up, and director Hogg does attempt to build up a creepy atmosphere, with dry ice swirling round the gloomy grounds of the place, but has given herself far too little to work with, although she conjures up some nice spooky exteriors of the vast edifice.

Swinton, in the dual role, is good - of course she is - but the 'twist' - finally coming after about 80 minutes, will have been guessed by most viewers in the first few minutes of the film. Is Swinton nuts? If she is, why aren't the men in white coats waiting at the end of the picture? Pass me the straitjacket.

David Quinlan

UK 2021. UK Distributor: A 24 (BFI/BBC Films). Colour by Pictureshop.
96 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 12A.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 20 Nov 2023