THE ETERNAL DAUGHTER
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Carly-Sophia Davies, Joseph Mydell, Alfie Sankey-Green, Zinnia Davies-Cooke, and August Joshi
Director: Joanna Hogg
I’m all for atmospherics in a movie, but it can’t be the only thing going for it. The Eternal Daughter looks like most period piece horror movies, with the old house and gardens constantly engulfed in a hazy fog and everything seemingly lit by candles (think The Others, but 100x worse). That ambiance makes the already slow-moving story very, very sleepy. It feels like it wants to be a mystery thriller, yet there are no mysteries or thrills…just a lot of talking. Tilda Swinton is exceptional in dual roles, adding enough differentiation to create distinct characters, but you’ll probably fall asleep too soon to notice.
Very much a relative of films like The Souvenir, Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter is a hauntingly atmospheric and surprisingly funny treatise on grief, memory, and human kindness in the face of both. Stunningly shot, though occasionally too meditative for its own good, the film features a captivating central performance from the great Tilda Swinton, as well as a dryly hilarious supporting part for Carly-Sophia Davies. This truly is Swinton’s movie though, and the duality of both characters she plays is so distinct, it’s a miracle she hasn’t been handed every award already.
This film was reviewed by Quentin as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, as well as by Jacob as part of Bitesize Breakdown's coverage of the 2022 New York Film Festival.