The Falling (2014 film)
UK theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Carol Morley|
|Written by||Carol Morley|
|Music by||Tracey Thorn|
|Edited by||Chris Wyatt|
|Distributed by||Metrodome UK|
The Falling is a 2014 British mystery drama film written and directed by Carol Morley. It stars Maisie Williams and Florence Pugh as best friends at an all-girls school. The film also stars Greta Scacchi, Monica Dolan, Maxine Peake, and Mathew Baynton. Production began in October 2013. The film premiered at the BFI London Film Festival on 11 October 2014 and was released theatrically on 24 April 2015 in the UK.
In 1969, Lydia and Abbie are best friends at an English girls school. Lydia, the neglected daughter of an agoraphobic mother, becomes fixated on Abbie, who has begun to explore her sexuality. After having sex with Lydia's brother Kenneth in an attempt to abort her pregnancy by another boy, Abbie begins to suffer from fainting spells. She faints and goes into convulsons after a stint in detention with Lydia and dies in the process. Following Abbie's burial, Lydia begins suffering as well from fainting spells, and it soon becomes an epidemic, with numerous girls and a young teacher in the school spontaneously passing out for no more than a few seconds. Lydia becomes convinced that the administration must take action, much to the chagrin of the school principal.
When an assembly becomes disrupted by a mass fainting episode, the school is temporarily shut down and all affected students are hospitalized and psychoanalysed. When no cause for the spells is discovered, the school is reopened and Lydia is expelled. That same night, the virginal Lydia has sex with Kenneth, with whom she has developed an incestuous relationship after Abbie's death. However their mother Eileen catches them and, armed with a pair of scissors, angrily forces Kenneth out of the house before launching into an argument with her daughter, in which she brands Lydia dangerous and that she ought to be locked up. Eileen also reveals that Lydia and Kenneth are only half-siblings; Lydia being the product of a rape.
Upon learning this, Lydia runs out of the house and Eileen follows her outside, despite having never ventured outside in over 16 years. Searching for Lydia, Eileen is overcome with flashbacks of her own sexual assault, and eventually locates Lydia; who has climbed to the top of a tree in a breakdown over Abbie's death. Eileen pleads with Lydia to come down, but she laughs, challenging her mother's lack of maternal affection, before losing her footing and leaping from the tree into a lake.
Distraught, Eileen ventures into the water and cradles Lydia's seemingly drowned body, realizing that her emotional frigidity had done more harm to her daughter than she knew. Lydia regains consciousness, and the film ends with the two women in a crying embrace.
- Maisie Williams as Lydia Lamont
- Maxine Peake as Eileen Lamb
- Monica Dolan as Miss Alvaro
- Greta Scacchi as Miss Mantel
- Mathew Baynton as Mr Hopkins
- Florence Pugh as Abigail Mortimer
- Joe Cole as Kenneth Lamont
- Lauren McCrostie as Gwen
- Rose Caton as Titch
The Falling premiered at the BFI London Film Festival on 11 October 2014. It had a limited release in the United Kingdom, grossing £442,177 with a further £10,051 grossed in New Zealand. US DVD sales amounted to another £6,406.
Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregator, reports that 72% of 36 surveyed critics gave the film a positive review; the average rating is 6.8/10. Mark Adams of Screen International wrote, "It is a film that will resonate with some but leave others exasperated, but The Falling is certainly a bold film, and one to be admired and appreciated." Guy Lodge of Variety called it "an imperfect but alluring study of psychological contagion that marks an auspicious advance in the field of narrative filmmaking for acclaimed documaker Carol Morley". Leslie Felperin of The Hollywood Reporter called it "a flawed but fascinating period study of female friendship and hysteria". Trevor Johnston of Time Out London rated it 4/5 stars and wrote, "Carol Morley shows startling versatility and ambition with this jawdropping mash-up of If and Picnic at Hanging Rock". Mike McCahill of The Daily Telegraph rated it 4/5 stars and called it a continuation of the themes in Nicolas Roeg's Performance and Don't Look Now.
Geoffrey Macnab of The Independent rated it 4/5 stars and wrote, "Carol Morley's The Falling is beguiling and disturbing, a beautifully made and very subtle affair that combines melodrama, rites of passage and supernatural elements in an utterly intriguing way." Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian rated it 5/5 stars and wrote, "Director Carol Morley has come up with another brilliant and very distinctive feature, about an epidemic of fainting that grips a girls school in the 1960s." Elise Nakhnikian of Slant Magazine gave a less favourable review, writing that "the film all leads to a melodramatic climax that wraps up the main character's explosive acting out in a too-neat package." David Jenkins of Little White Lies also gave an unfavourable review, writing, "Carol Morley follows up the mesmerising Dreams of a Life with a tedious period drama set in an all-girls school."
|London Film Festival 2014||Best British Newcomer and Best Film||Florence Pugh and Official Competition Carol Morley||Nominated|
|London Film Critics' Circle||Young British/Irish Performer Of The Year||Maisie Williams||Won|
|Evening Standard British Film Awards||Rising Star||Maisie Williams||Won|
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- "The Falling review – Carol Morley's masterly followup to Dreams of a Life". The Guardian. 10 October 2014. Retrieved 24 April 2015.
- Elise Nakhnikian (23 August 2015). "The Falling". Slant Magazine.
- Little White Lies magazine. "The Falling review". littlewhitelies.co.uk. Archived from the original on 19 September 2015.