Saturday, October 27, 2018

The Little Stranger: A ghost story or a film about social class?

Yesterday I claimed to like ghost and horror films. Today I went to the pictures as The Little Stranger, which is based on a novel by Sarah Walters, is currently showing at the Phoenix arts centre in Leicester.

It is set just after the second world war and features a country estate that is on its last legs. A young doctor befriends the family who live there. The parallels with Brideshead and Satis House are obvious.

We soon learn that his mother was in service at the big house and that he once visited the house and was overwhelmed by it.

The only weakness of the film is that we are told about his love for it but never really get to see it. Otherwise is beautifully shot and features a uniformly strong cast.

As the doctor befriends the family, we learn that there is an uneasy atmosphere to the house. We come to suspect that it is haunted by the ghost of a dead child.

At first the doctor seems a good man as well as a good doctor, but later we come to doubt his motives.

We also begin to wonder if the house is haunted by the child, something quite different or not haunted at all.

This being England, it is as much a film about social class as it is a ghost film.

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