The Daughter

Director: Simon Stone (2016)

This gloomy family drama is a sombre reflection on class, wealth, infidelity and betrayal.

A respectful adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s play The Wild Duck (pub. 1884 as Vildanden) it successfully migrates from 19th century Norway to modern day Australia.

A languid pace and sumptuous cinematography encourages us to wallow in the brooding atmosphere. Varied locations from stately home to derelict mill suggest the texture of history.

They anchor the poised performances from a top drawer cast which includes veteran Aussie actors Geoffrey Rush and Sam Neill. They play estranged former business partners Henry and Walter.

With an endearing and frank freshness, pink haired teenager Odessa Young plays Hedwig. She’s Walter’s grand-daughter and the daughter of the title. Bright and sensitive, she’s pursuing a romance with a school friend.

As Henry prepares to marry his young housekeeper Anna, his confrontational and alcoholic son Christian has returned from abroad.

Although never dull, we spend a long time waiting for a dark secret to power the violent finale where lives are shredded.

@ChrisHunneysett

 

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