Directed by John Jencks and written by emerging British talent Poppy Cogan, The Fold is a hefty tale of grief and loneliness. Rebecca Ashton (Catherine McCormack) is a priest struggling to overcome the loss of a daughter. Moving to the remote Cornish coast with her remaining daughter Eloise (Dakota Blue Richards), Rebecca meets troubled Bulgarian teen Radka (Marine Stoimenova,) and is compelled to mother her. As the dependence between the two grows, their relationship becomes harmful to all concerned.
The rugged Cornish coast provides a dramatic backdrop to an intriguing story of toxic relationships and misplaced affection. Emotional turmoil is rife in The Fold, but dialogue is sparse. Rebecca’s grief takes the narrative centre stage but is never released from its internal confines. Instead, the bleak, rain-soaked views, jagged cliffs and roaring waves are a substitute for her visible anguish and work well to echo mounting tensions in the film, as does the impressive original soundtrack.
Dakota Blue Richards stands out as Rebecca’s forgotten child Eloise, and despite minimal screen time, manages to combine just the right amount of childish optimism and desperate disappointment to make her character the unwitting victim of her mother’s grief. The relationship between Radka and Rebecca is a captivating take on loss and interdependence but is over-melodramatic in places and tries too hard to force The Fold into the thriller genre. Radka’s sporadic jealous rage may add excitement to a sombre narrative, but it seems both unnatural and excessive for such a personal story.
The Fold is a whirlwind of emotion, and a well thought out example of British cinema. Each shot pushes the audience further along in the narrative and captures the atmosphere of grief faultlessly to create a moving tale of a mother’s desperation to cling on to the remnants of a lost family.
The Fold is released nationwide on 28th March 2014.