Irish Film Institute -EILEEN


Director: William Oldroyd

97 mins, USA, 2023, Digital

1964, Massachusetts: 24-year-old Eileen (Thomasin McKenzie) is sleepwalking through a dead-end job as a secretary at the local juvenile boys correctional facility whilst caring for her chronically alcoholic father (Shea Whigham), a paranoid and abusive former police officer. Eileen’s narrow horizons are suddenly broadened by the arrival of Rebecca Saint John (Anne Hathaway), the new prison psychiatrist, whose confident, smouldering presence is a beacon of attraction for the shy, introverted younger woman. Their burgeoning friendship, tinged with erotic desire, takes a twisted turn when Rebecca reveals a dark secret, pitching the film into deliciously Highsmith-esque territory. William Oldroyd’s adaptation of Ottessa Moshfegh’s Booker prize-shortlisted novel is, like his debut, 2016’s Lady MacBeth (which introduced the world to Florence Pugh), a gripping, sinuous, noir-inflected exploration of obsession that boasts superlative performances from McKenzie and Hathaway.

Notes by David O’Mahony

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