THE LITTLE STRANGER tells the story of Dr. Faraday, the son of a housemaid, who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country doctor. During the long hot summer of 1948, he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall, where his mother once worked. The Hall has been home to the Ayres family for more than two centuries. But it is now in decline and its inhabitants – mother, son and daughter – are haunted by something more ominous than a dying way of life. When he takes on his new patient, Faraday has no idea how closely, and how disturbingly, the family’s story is about to become entwined with his own.
What We Thought:
The Littlest Stranger is the latest difficult film to talk about without spoiling. My issues with the film involve the ending and lackluster reasoning behind everything happening yet I can’t openly complain without ruining it for those who want to watch the film.
It reminded me a lot of My Cousin Rachel in its style, look, wardrobe, acting and disappointing story. Both have that gothic horror vibe yet neither are really horror. Both don’t make sense by the end and you question if the story adds up. I know this probably doesn’t make sense to you but I can’t get much more into it without just blurting out the big reveal.
The cast is good. Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, and Charlotte Rampling are some of my favorite actors going. Director Lenny Abrahamson is usually good as well. The set design is through the roof. The family home looks like it’s falling apart yet still has the charm that drew people to it. Cars, clothing, the backdrop, etc., are all era appropriate.
So ultimately it is the story that doesn’t sit well for me. It leads you in one direction until the end and I have no issue with a film throwing a curveball at the audience, but I don’t think it worked. Knowing the ending, I’d honestly have to rewatch the film to see if the math adds up. From what I remember, it doesn’t.
Talking to others who also saw The Little Stranger, I’m not the only one who thinks the ending doesn’t make sense. There’s too much talent for the film to be unwatchable, but it’s just not the movie it should be. It’s not really a gothic horror picture and the ending feels like a cop out. Oh well.
Director: Lenny Abrahamson
Writer: Lucinda Coxon, based on the novel by Sarah Waters
Cast: Domhnall Gleeson, Ruth Wilson, Will Poulter, and Charlotte Rampling
Running Time: 1 hour 51 minutes
MPAA Rating: R for some disturbing bloody images