Lawks, but I found this a tedious affair! A brooding 1948 tale set in an English rural manor house visited by Domhnall Gleeson as doctor, an ancestral residence too big by far for a mother (Charlotte Rampling) with two adult children (Ruth Wilson and Will Poulter) plus maidservant, all against a portentously unyielding atmosphere with a 'mystery' at its heart which for me was too diffuse to be as gripping as it was clearly intended to be. Throw in a few unpleasantly violent deaths and sporadic effects of a haunting and I came out bewildered in a 'what-was-all-that-about?' fashion, and I honestly don't care to give it much further thought.
Not tense enough to be 'suspenseful', nor grisly enough to be true 'horror', I assume it goes in the category of 'psychological drama'.
Gleeson, apart from 'losing it' in one short scene, plays the entire drama virtually on the one, unflappable note. Charlotte Rampling is magisterially matriarchal in the way she can always be relied on to deliver. Poulson as the disfigured and injured ex-RAF young veteran is, understandably, humourlessly intense. But Ruth Wilson is the stand-out cast member in the only role here that is full of light and shade. and she does it all credibly well.
The film is based on one of Sarah Waters' six novels to date, of which I have so far read only the one, 'Fingersmith', and have to say I was impressed with that. Apparently the film of 'The Little Stranger' follows the book quite closely and despite my reservations regarding the film I should like to read it as I'd expect it to get inside the minds of the characters more successfully on the printed page than in this visual version.
Director Lenny Abrahamson, probably best known for 'Room', (2015) draws perfectly capable performances from his cast, however I could have done with less mood-setting music on the soundtrack.
The film has been generally quite well received. For me it lacked that extra ingredient to make it recommendable, and hence rather a disappointment.................5.
(IMDb.............6.0 / Rott. Tomes..........6.4 )
4 hours ago