If you place two rebellious, outgoing and slightly odd teenagers in a 60s girls school, add intense Catholic stereotypes and the temptations of hormone changes, you’re in for a film jam packed with unsuspecting turns and gripping characters.
Lydia ‘Lamb’ Lamont (Maisie Williams) and Abbie Mortimer (Florence Pugh) grew up thick as thieves all their lives but it isn’t until one of them throws herself into new far-from-Catholic situations that the two lose their previous spark. Abbie’s life soon begins to spiral dramatically from her sudden emotional turn leaving Lydia struggling to keep up with the dire consequences that follow her best friend’s actions.
With her best friend now absent from her collapsing lifestyle, and her mother a recluse who shows no affection or care towards her children, Lydia falls victim to an epidemic that causes the victim to faint and even seizure at random intervals. At first it seems as if Lydia is trying to gain the attention of her classmates and teachers to mimic Abbie’s past actions. However, it isn’t until even more of the girls start to show the same symptoms that the school’s teachers begin to look into the cause of this spreading illness once one of the staff members falls ill.
Now alone with a distant mother, a paranormal believing brother, and a school full of people calling her a liar, Lydia’s emotional and mental state begin to crumble to pieces. It isn’t long before she begins to question whether her deteriorating health is in her head or the impact of something more devilish.
What is the number one rule for reviews? Well, one of the rules, and that’s HONESTY. So, even though it pains me to admit it, this film had me confused up until the credits started to roll. It isn’t every day that a film leaves me pondering every minor detail behind the twists hidden within it, but The Falling has proven to be one of the few films that is still lingering in the back of my mind. I shan’t say no more on the matter but if you watch the film yourself then you shall most definitely understand. Hopefully a few more viewings will clear up the fog in my mind. Hopefully.
Despite finding myself in a web of questions from this particular film, I was truly hooked from the start. From a captivating score to outstanding performances from Maisie Williams, this film was let down in regards to the hype built up for it from the media. If it had been thrown out into the public with more fuss, perhaps even more people would be excited for the DVD release of this film.
Even though the entirety of the cast gave amazing performances within the confinements of this twisted plot, I cannot praise Williams enough for her portrayal of the troubled Lydia. It isn’t every day that an actress is able to convincingly portray a teenager dealing with twisted desires of lust, the constant loss of her self-control and the overwhelming pressure to cure herself from whatever fictional epidemic she has created. Anyone else who has watched this masterpiece will agree that some of the scenes that Williams had to bring to life were difficult enough to watch, let alone act and live out.
Praise must also be given to the crew hidden behind the lens throughout the film for their editing capabilities. Throughout the film there are multitudes of flashback sequences but none similar to the other. Each sequence lasts only a few seconds but includes a large number of scenes in quick flashes. Without having to even pause the film to witness each memory in perfect clarity, the audience are still able to understand each minute detail and it doesn’t drag their attention from the scenes that follow. They may not be obvious indicators to the plot, but the film wouldn’t have prospered as far without them. I propose a toast to those behind these particular snippets of the film.
As obvious as my pain for not fully understanding the entirety of the film’s plot is, I was far from disappointed by the time it finished. Each moment of action – no matter how quick or subtle – had me on the edge of my metaphorical seat and staring wide eyed with each change of Lydia’s mental state.
For those wishing to explore a new breed of film with an astonishing cast, I highly suggest The Falling and recommend you share it with as many people as possible to give it the attention it deserves. Such underrated films as this one rarely gain the attention that they rightly deserve and it is up to positive reviews to cast them into a brand new light that brings them to the top.
Director: Carol Morley
Starring: Maisie Williams, Florence Pugh, Maxine Peake
Running Time: 102 minutes
Released: 24th August 2015