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In the 1970s, a young trans woman, Patrick "Kitten" Braden, comes of age by leaving her Irish town for London, in part to look for her mother and in part because her gender identity is beyond the town's understanding.
Psychologist Margaret Matheson and her assistant study paranormal activity, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic who has resurfaced years after his toughest critic mysteriously passed away.
Robert De Niro,
Eloise Laurence is Terrific in this Dark British Drama
Eloise Laurence, in her motion picture debut, is really terrific as Skunk, aka Emily Cunningham, in this extremely dark British drama. Tim Roth gives his usual very solid performance as Skunk's father Archie, a lawyer who is left to raise Skunk and her brother Jed (Bill Milner) after Archie's wife has run off with an accountant. They're aided by a live-in nanny Kosia, ably portrayed by Zana Marjanovic.
Skunk is an 11 year old girl who must face numerous challenges in addition to the loss of her mother. She's a Type 1 diabetic, who must take daily injections and constantly monitor her blood sugar levels. She also has to contend with a new school and the bullying therein, a crush on her teacher Mr. Kiernan, played by the fine actor Cillian Murphy, as well as a first boyfriend Dillon (George Sargeant) and a first real kiss.
However, even more scary and potentially more dangerous are her neighbors. There's the rageful and violent neighbor Bob Oswald, believably portrayed by Rory Kinnear, who along with his three out of control daughters are causing havoc in the neighborhood. There's also the seriously mentally disturbed Rick (Robert Emms), living across the street with his doting mother and overwhelmed father.
All of these families and characters will eventually come together in brutally stark ways. The film does little to shield the viewer from very bleak and difficult scenes.
Thank goodness for the movie's powerful ending or I may just have felt the whole film was just too depressing and unflinching for me.
All in all, Eloise Laurence's riveting presence on screen was I think the true heart of the film. Most likely this film is not for everyone with its' heavy themes, but with its' very strong ending I was glad I stayed with it.
The film was directed by Rufus Norris, an accomplished stage director but making his film debut here. It was written by Mark O'Rowe (Boy A), based on the novel by Daniel Clay.
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