The Little Stranger: A Hit Or Miss Film

Domhnall Gleeson (left) stars as “Dr. Faraday” and Ruth Wilson (right) stars as “Caroline Ayres” in director Lenny Abrahamson’s THE LITTLE STRANGER, a Focus Features release. Credit: Nicola Dove/Focus Features.

In spite of the cast involved, The Little Stranger is one of those films that is neither compelling nor captivating if you’re not a fan of the genre.

The film is told in flashbacks as we’re introduced to Dr. Faraday (Domhnall Gleeson).  He answers the call to treat a young maid, Betty (Liv Hill), working for the Ayres family at Hundreds Hall.  It just so happens that this very facility is the some place in which his mother worked some years earlier as a maid.  The mansion has been owned by the Ayres family for more than 200 years, the place is in need of repair after the war.  It isn’t even a trace of vibrant place that it used to be when he was a child.

Mrs. Ayres (Charlotte Rampling) is the matriarch of a family that includes her only surviving daughter, Caroline (Ruth Wilson), and son, Roderick (Will Poulter).  Roderick is a veteran of the Royal Air Force but injuries left him badly burned and with a knee injury.  Yet it’s Caroline who somehow is why the country doctor keeps finding himself coming back.  Once the two start hanging out together, it’s only a matter of time before one starts to ponder the inevitable question of will they or won’t they.  If you’ve already read the novel by Sarah Waters, you already know what happens.

Domhnall Gleeson has proven to be one of the hardest working actors over the last two years.  He’s a fine actor, don’t get me wrong but I just didn’t find the film to be compelling.  It’s nothing against the cast but my biggest struggle in viewing the film was trying to stay awake.  I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not anywhere close to the film’s target demographic.  This is, in part, due to the supernatural themes contained in the film.  It’s not my cup of tea so we’ll just leave it at that.

The biggest struggle in watching The Little Stranger is trying to stay awake.  Despite the fine acting performances, there’s nothing much to see.  Even in shielding my eyes from potential danger, the sound design is enough to wake up a grizzly bear in those scenes.

Director Lenny Abrahamson does what he can with the material he’s been given from Lucinda Coxon’s screenplay.  Whatever the case may be, The Little Stranger just isn’t much of a compelling film to say the least.

DIRECTOR:  Lenny Abrahamson
SCREENWRITER:  Lucinda Coxon
CAST:  Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, Liv Hill, and Charlotte Rampling

Focus Features will open The Little Stranger in theaters on August 31, 2018.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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