A film for the faint-hearted
A fainting epidemic sweeps through a late 1960s all-girls school in Carol Morley’s lyrical and haunting feature.
Sixteen-year-old Lydia (Maisie Williams) and Abbie (Florence Pugh) are best friends, who make a vow to never lose touch.
This sisterly bond is tested when Abbie sleeps with Lydia’s older brother Kenneth (Joe Cole), the only man in the house in the absence of a father.
The children’s mother Eileen (Maxine Peake) is agoraphobic and runs a hairdressing business from the house, but refuses ever to step outside.
Tragedy strikes at the school and Lydia struggles to cope with her loss and with the pressure of maintaining peace between her mother and brother.
Soon after, an infectious hysteria sweeps through the school and Lydia finds herself at the centre of all the hullabaloo.
This brings the teenager into conflict with chain-smoking headmistress Miss Alvaro (Monica Dolan) and the emotionally brittle teacher Miss Mantel (Greta Scacchi).
A subtle and moving film, which will likely touch as many hearts as it leaves utterly stone cold.
Star rating: 7/10