In the wet, leafy green surround of an English all-girls school towards the end of the 1960s, a strange epidemic of specifically contagious fainting and trance-like episodes occur.
The intense nature of the friendship between defiant and sexually curious Abbie (Florence Pugh) and keenly intelligent Lydia (Maisie Williams) reveals the level of urgency under which teenage girls can operate. Lydia and her elder brother navigate their fear-stiffened and agoraphobic mother. Resentful of their fathers absence, their dependence on Abbie as a form of escape is acute.
A dense twine of loyalty, competition and love – platonic entangled with sexual – binds the girls so tightly that when Abbie has sex for the first time, Lydia sympathises so eagerly she begins to feel the effects in her own body. It’s apparent Abbie has fallen pregnant and suffers with symptoms that have devastating results. The school becomes overrun by an unexplained hysteria and successive bouts of fainting incidents affect most of the school, even the art teacher. As grieved Lydia reaches her breaking point, her mother is forced to open up in order to bring her daughter back from the edge.
Themes of virginity, innocence, emotional neglect and incest are all present. Rendered by an extremely talented cast giving dynamic and truthful performances, The Falling is a visceral and emotionally exposing story. Bordering on the supernatural, the perplexing illness unpacks ideas about psychological implications of mourning and compassion. Deadpan humor and chronic irony keep the tone of the movie firmly planted in British territory.
The direction and artistic approach of Carol Morely are maturing in much the same vein as her critically acclaimed Dreams of a Life. With the hypnotic and minor keyed melodies composed by Tracy Thorn of Everything But the Girl, this film is a combined result of the efforts of a host of talented women. Outstandingly peculiar and chillingly intense, The Falling is a thrilling watch.
The Falling is released in nationwide on 24th April 2015.
Watch the trailer for The Falling here: