The Little Stranger 3.0 stars

Little Stranger movie poster

A moody delight. Domhnall Gleeson brings his uncanny talent for communicating great storms of interior feeling through an expression almost entirely devoid of affect to Lenny Abrahamson’s post-World War II ghost story about the dangers of noblesse oblige. He plays Faraday, a doctor called to the home of the local gentry — aristocrats who have fallen on very hard times indeed. It’s not just their personal disasters — the mother’s loss of a beloved daughter, the son’s horrific injuries in the war, the remaining daughter’s doom to serve as caretaker to both — it’s their entire genteel way of life that’s crumbling along with the great house. This is Faraday’s age, the age of technology and personal achievement; not only can he help the son’s wounds to heal, he can get a career boost out of his report on the process. But even if times have changed, Faraday himself hasn’t; he’s still the same little boy who visited the house in happier times and fell in love with its rarefied clime, and so his interest quickly wanders from the patient’s ruined body to the suffering souls within Hundreds Hall. Everything here is precise and deliberate: Abrahamson’s direction, the understated performances, the suddenly intrusive sounds that stop just shy of jarring. The result is more sad and spooky than suspenseful or scary, an effect that seems entirely, and pleasingly, intentional. 2018.

Matthew Lickona

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