The Rehearsal is the adaptation of the Eleanor Catton novel by the same name. While it differs drastically from the original story, director Alison Maclean manages to detail a most sensitive matter in this film.
Stanley (James Rolleston) is a new pupil at a prestigious drama school where the students are being trained vigorously by their immensely critical Head of Drama, Hannah (Kerry Fox). He becomes involved with the young Isolde (Ella Edward), whose sister is involved in a sex scandal with her tennis coach, and Stanley and his friends decide to use this as the inspiration for their end-of-year drama project.
The opening scenes are imaginatively executed, and from the outset Maclean makes it appear as if these stories are connected. The scene of Stanley meeting Isolde on the bus is followed by Isolde making the shocking discovery of her sister in the tennis club, and it is suggested that what happened there will come into play between her and Stanley too. As the naïve drama students begin their project, they travel into dangerous territory, and Maclean constructs a mild tension that is remains throughout the rest of the movie. Despite the narrative spanning an entire year, the plot doesn’t seem rushed, and combined with the dreariness of the weather, this gives The Rehearsal a realistic feeling.
The entire cast is adept at playing their respective characters, but it is Fox, perhaps, who is the most admirable performer. She plays the dichotomous role of the severe yet kind-hearted teacher superbly. Kieran Charnock as the eccentric William is memorable, and Rolleston’s Stanley, though he makes some questionable choices, is likeable and does manage to win audience approval when he does what is right.
The Rehearsal is solemn but emotional in its approach and ultimately satisfactory.
The Rehearsal does not have a UK release date yet.
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Watch the trailer for The Rehearsal here: