Review: THE LITTLE STRANGER

By Jan Hamilton

Set in England, shortly after the Second World War, this movie is a combination of the British country manor drama and a scary movie, which are my favorite and least favorite movie categories, respectively. The film tells the story of young Dr. Faraday and his strange experiences with the Ayres family. Thirty years earlier, to mark the end of the Great War, the titled Ayres family had a party for the town folk at their posh estate called Hundreds Hall. Dr. Faraday, played by Domhnall Gleeson, then the young son of a maid at the estate,  attended  the celebration and came under the spell of the place and the family.  So in 1948, when he is called to the house on a medical emergency, he is anxious to go.

He is dismayed to see how the estate has fallen on hard times and has gone to seed.  It seems the family is now relatively poor and does much of the work themselves, having only one maid. The heir to the place is Roderick Ayers, who was badly burned in the war and suffers what we would call PTSD. The doctor tends to his patient and meets Caroline Ayres, played by the beautiful Ruth Wilson, though they have made her look quite frumpy in this film. He becomes interested in Caroline, although she is still far above him in English class system, despite her family’s financial difficulties. The audience also meets Mrs. Ayres, played by the luminous Charlotte Rampling, holding on to her status as best she can. A large problem seems to be that strange noises have been heard in the house.  Bells ring in the kitchen from rooms occupied by no one.  Strange writing appears on walls with the nickname of a long deceased child. All this can’t help but make Roderick’s condition worse and the family worried.

Regarding he cast, audiences will remember Domhnall Gleeson from  About Time, Ruth Wilson from The Affair and Luther, Will Poulter as the goofy kid in We’re The Millers, and Charlotte Rampling from Never Let Me Go and a million other things.

Cast: Domhnall Gleeson        as Dr. Faraday

          Ruth Wilson                   as Carolyn Ayers

          Charlotte Rampling      as Mrs. Ayers

          Will Poulter                    as Roderick Ayers

Director:                                  Lenny Abrahamson

Writers:                                    Lucinda Coxon

                                                   Sarah Waters-from her novel

 

 

 

 

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