Cracks (film)

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Cracks poster.jpg
Directed byJordan Scott
Produced byKwesi Dickson
Andrew Lowe
Julie Payne
Rosalie Swedlin
Christine Vachon
Screenplay byBen Court
Caroline Ip
Jordan Scott
Based onCracks
by Sheila Kohler
StarringEva Green
Juno Temple
María Valverde
Imogen Poots
Sinéad Cusack
Music byJavier Navarrete
CinematographyJohn Mathieson
Edited byValerio Bonelli
Element Pictures,
Scott Free Productions
Killer Films
Légende Films
HandMade Films
Distributed byOptimum Releasing (UK)
Studio Canal (France)
IFC Films (US)[1]
Release date
  • 12 September 2009 (2009-09-12) (TIFF)
  • 4 December 2009 (2009-12-04) (United Kingdom)
Running time
104 minutes
CountryUnited Kingdom

Cracks is a 2009 British independent psychological thriller drama film directed by Jordan Scott, starring Eva Green, Juno Temple, María Valverde, and Imogen Poots. It was released theatrically in the United Kingdom and Ireland on 4 December 2009. In the United States, it was released by IFC Films theatrically on 18 March 2011[2] and premiered on television on Showtime as part of a ongoing pay television broadcast deal with IFC later in the year.[3]

The film was produced in May 2008, written for the screen by Caroline Ip, Ben Court and Jordan Scott, based on the 1999 novel written by Sheila Kohler. Kwesi Dickson, Andrew Lowe, Julie Payne, Rosalie Swedlin and Christine Vachon were the producers. Ridley and Tony Scott served as executive producers.[4] The film was mostly filmed in County Wicklow, Ireland.


Set in the 1930s in a strict elite British boarding school called St Mathilda's, the story centres on a clique of girls who idolise their enigmatic diving instructor, Miss G (Eva Green) (in the film, we learn that Miss G had been a student at the same school where she now works and, in fact, may have even continued on at the school after she graduated). Di Radfield (Juno Temple) has a crush on Miss G, and is the firm favourite and ringleader of her group. When a beautiful Spanish girl named Fiamma Corona (María Valverde) arrives at the school, Miss G's focus is shifted away from the other girls. It becomes a triangle: Miss G gets increasingly obsessed with Fiamma, Fiamma is disturbed by Miss G and also openly disgusted by the teacher's hypocrisies and deceptions, and Di is terribly jealous and makes Fiamma's life hell.

In a very telling scene in the film that clearly highlighted Miss G's deceptions, Miss G (who claimed to be a world traveller to her "girls") goes to a nearby parochial town to buy some provisions. She is visibly upset by this trip and after buying her provisions and drawing the unwanted attention of some local louts, she returns to the school in, it would seem, a near panic. The bullying culminates in Di physically throwing Fiamma out of the school but, as she is unable to return to Spain as she hoped, Fiamma ends up back at the school later that night.

When Fiamma is eventually found, the two girls make the first steps towards friendship, and at the following dorm party they all get a bit drunk, and Fiamma faints. Miss G takes her to her own room. Then Miss G kisses her and rapes her while she is passed out; Di witnesses this through the room door, which was left ajar, and then flees.

The next morning, Fiamma is visibly upset, and Miss G is equally distressed as she runs around after her. Di is broody, and eventually tells the rest of her gang that Fiamma seduced Miss G. Fiamma presumably tells Miss G that she will report the molestation to the teachers, and horrified, Miss G realises her career will be over. She in turn manipulates Di's affection for her into anger. She says that Fiamma will make up lies about her molesting her (even though it was true) and plan to get her kicked out of school. Di absolutely refuses to allow this to happen.

The confrontation between Di's gang and Fiamma turns ugly as Fiamma declines to answer Di's vicious questions and tries to explain what really happened, hinting at Miss G's lies and character defects. Fiamma runs into the forest as things become more violent, but the girls catch up with her and, under Di's leadership, beat her up with their fists and sticks. Fiamma starts to have an asthma attack, and the girls stop, terrified. They run to get help, and Di runs into Miss G (who had been watching the beating and the chase that ensued quietly and with no attempt to stop the beating), who says she'll stay with Fiamma, and directs Di to go get a teacher.

In the forest, Miss G, alone with Fiamma, refuses to give Fiamma her inhaler and calmly watches her die. Di returns just in time to see Miss G placing the inhaler in Fiamma's lifeless hand, and that's when she realises the truth.

Later, Di tells the other girls what happened and, united, they confront Miss G. They are powerless officially, but they quit the diving team and symbolically turn in their sashes. The headmistress refuses to acknowledge the school's culpability, and seems only concerned with the school's reputation, but releases Miss G from her duties.

The final scene has Di leaving the school to explore the world, as both Fiamma and Miss G had spoken of doing, whilst Miss G, fired from the school, goes to the local village and finds a small room she can live in, presumably closing herself away for the rest of her life. In a scene that perhaps allows the viewer a better understanding of Miss G's very complex personality, we see her put her few personal possessions on her bedside table. She puts one item there and then quickly removes it to make room for another item. After that, she counts the items to make sure that there are only five. The viewer is then reminded that when Fiamma arrived at the school, in the dorm room, Di had told her that only five personal items could be displayed on her night table at one time. The audience then realises Miss G is as much a victim of the institutionalised setting she grew up in (she was perhaps like many of the girls at the school "dumped" there and basically forgotten about by her family) as Fiamma was her victim.[5]


The lead actresses at the film's showing at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Left to right: Eva Green, Juno Temple, and María Valverde


Cracks received a mixed reception from critics. It has a score of 43% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 47 critic reviews.[6] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 54 out of 100 based on 12 critic reviews.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fischer, Russ (12 November 2009). "IFC Buys Cracks, Debut Film From Jordan Scott". /Film. Archived from the original on 17 February 2010. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
  2. ^ a b "Cracks". Metacritic. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  3. ^ "Cracks". Movies on Showtime. Archived from the original on 10 September 2012. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
  4. ^ Rechtshaffen, Michael (14 September 2009). "Cracks – Film Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  5. ^ Smith, Krista (August 2009). "Dangerous Lessons". Vanity Fair.
  6. ^ "Cracks (2011)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 29 November 2011.

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