Bill Clinton’s sordid and squalid liaison’s with White House intern Monica Lewinsky and saw the poor woman humiliated on an international scale. Yet she was savvy enough to sell THAT dress, stained by their intimate liaison, for thousands of dollars with it being bought by Eileen Braithwaite solely to wear it to a fancy dress party so when others enquired what she was dressed as she could tell them she was dressed as the No1 hit by Dexy’s Midnight Runners , ‘Come on Eileen’! (You’re fired! – Ed). This contrived and clearly fictional anecdote is not the basis of the new film Eileen starring Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway.
Set in the late 1950’s Eileen (Thomasin McKenzie) is a lonely and bored 24 year old living working as a secretary at a youth offenders institute and also taking care of her drunken abusive father with whom she lives. Sexually frustrated and prone to , at times quite shocking, fantasy Eileen’s world is drab and dull with little excitement. That is until new in town Rebecca (Anne Hathaway) arrives at the facility to work as a psychologist with a unique therapy style. She is everything that Elieen isn’t. Confident, sexy, colourful and the opposites attract with Eileen immediately drawn to this exciting woman. Soon Rebecca invites her out for exotic martini’s at a local bar. Maybe its friendship, maybe it’s the start of a romance but for the first time Eileen feels alive as they dance together with Eileen’s burgeoning sexuality. It’s a moment that changes everything for her yet not as she might expect as the film takes a decidedly dark and unexpected turn. There’s a distinctly film noir atmosphere to the proceedings that takes us and Eileen in an unknown direction but also opens up an opportunity to be what she wants. It’s an end scene that might prove divisive but is in keeping with the genre its replicates.
Based on Ottesa Moshfegh’s book that was shortlisted for the Booker Prize she adapts it with Luke Goebel into an intriguing narrative with several often jarring moments and shocking flights of fantasy and ends as a very different genre from how the film seems to be going. Both leads are good especially Hathaway who excels in the role and director William Oldroyd, whose debut film was Lady Macbeth that introduced us to a fledgling Florence Pugh. Eileen is the latest film to add to an impressive back catalogue that includes Last Night in Soho, Old and Jojo Rabbit and she deserves a breakout role but Eileen is probably not the film that will do that just yet but is a stylish thriller nonetheless
related feature : Turning Anne Hathaway into a Grand High Witch…….
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Here’s the trailer for Eileen…..