THE FALLING

PrintE-mail Written by Thomas Winward

Growing up is hard. We know, this isn’t new information. If you haven’t been through your teenage years yet you’ve almost certainly seen someone else go through them in cinema. Coming of age has been a tried and tested theme ever since humans first began telling stories, and the British drama The Falling is no exception.

Maisie Williams (best known for TV’s Game of Thrones) stars in this low-key, low-budget story of a 1960s-era all-girl English boarding school. When tragedy besets the school it finds itself in the grip of hysteria that manifests as a mysterious fainting epidemic. Along the way, its medley of awkward female teenage characters fumble their through friendships, parental relationships and sexual encounters, not unlike an (extremely well-written) episode of Grange Hill.

But what makes The Falling stand out from other teen dramas is the hauntingly beautiful way in which adolescence is explored. Its deceptively simple narrative is imbued with layers of subtext, hidden imagery and meaning that even the most perceptive of audiences would be hard-pressed to pick up on the first viewing.

The soft light, dreamy camera movements and almost subliminal flashes of previous scenes and images wrap the film up in a surreal, ghostly atmosphere. It’s compelling, to say the least, and although plot threads are largely tied together in the third act this is an experience of tone and feeling more than narrative strength. Inspiration is drawn less from Mean Girls and more from Picnic at Hanging Rock, with the haunting music even conjuring memories of those famous pan pipes in Peter Weir’s Australian classic.

Strong performances from a hugely talented cast, guided by the confident hands of director Carol Morley, make this a fascinating watch. Although the eerie, particular atmosphere and tone might be jarring for some, it’s a refreshing change from the formulaic American culture to which we are hugely overexposed. For a wholly unique experience, you can’t go far wrong with The Falling.

INFO: THE FALLING / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: CAROL MORLEY / STARRING: MAISIE WILLIAMS, MAXINE PEAKE, FLORENCE PUGH, ANNA BURNETT, GRETA SCACCHI / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 24TH

 
 


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