Eileen had a screening during Fantastic Fest.
‘Eileen’ is one of those movies where the less you know going into it, the better. Directed by William Oldroyd and starring Thomasin McKenzie and Anne Hathaway, ‘Eileen’ is a psychological thriller based on a 2015 novel by Ottessa Moshfegh.
McKenzie plays the titular Eileen. She is a young woman working at a juvenile correctional facility in 1960s Massachusetts. Her mother has died, and her father is a former police officer and current alcoholic, played by the excellent Shea Whigham. Eileen becomes fascinated with the Harvard-educated new psychiatrist at the prison named Rebecca, played by Anne Hathaway, who had her best performance in years. Rebecca is beautiful, confident, and intriguing – everything that Eileen dreams she could be. Rebecca takes an interest in the young Elieen, and the two become friends. But things are not necessarily as they seem.
The film only takes place in a few different locations. However, Ari Wegner’s beautiful cinematography brings a superb icy gloss to the 60’s New England locales. McKenzie’s Eileen is quiet, shy, and plagued by morbid daydreams. Mckenzie has proven to be an expert at conveying this type of lead, similar to what we have seen in ‘Last Night in Soho.’ Hathaway manages to play Rebecca with amazing charisma that makes Eileen’s fascination immediately relatable – but Hathaway never goes over the top. It’s a career-best performance.
The film is excellently paced, letting you get to know Eileen and her life before the plot takes some demented detours that flip the story on its head. I don’t want to say more for fear of spoilers, but rest assured, it’s as exciting as it is perplexing.
‘I give ‘Eileen’ 4 out of 5 stars. It is a psychological thriller that leaves you wanting more. With career-best performances and a plot that takes some unhinged turns right as you think you have it all figured out, Eileen is not one that genre fans will want to miss when it gets a wide release this holiday season.