In early 18th century England, a frail Queen Anne occupies the throne and her close friend, Lady Sarah, governs the country in her stead. When a new servant, Abigail, arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. (IMDb)
Despite great turns from the three leads, it initially comes off feeling a little long, cold, and empty (though the style is fabulous-see the elaborate costumes and sets contrasted with the curt, crass dialogue; the marvelous cinematography and editing-love those fish-eye shots and slow cross-fades). Upon further rumination though the chilling arc for Stone’s Abigail comes into focus, as does the intriguing commentary on the volatile mix of political power games with romance and relationships.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
In a dystopian near future, single people, according to the laws of The City, are taken to The Hotel, where they are obliged to find a romantic partner in forty-five days or are transformed into beasts and sent off into The Woods. (IMDb)
The deadpan delivery of this disturbing dystopia is darkly witty and effectively creepy but starts to wear a little thin near the middle–but then in a brilliant move, the madness reaches its blood-on-the-bathroom-floor pinnacle, someone breaks (emotionally and literally, making a break for it), the pendulum swings, and the weird world is expanded. Strikingly shot and scored, this film raises fascinating questions on relationships and identity. Could’ve done without most of the narration though.