The Falling

Starring Florence Pugh, Maisie Williams, Greta Scacchi and Monica Dolan
Written and directed by Carol Morley
UK 2014
102 mins

A mysterious outbreak of mass fainting besets an all girls school in 1969 in Carol Morley's intriguing and unsettling feature. Lydia and her best friend Abigail are at the epicentre of the phenomenon - and when Lydia tries to discover what is going on and why she finds herself in opposition to the school administration and ostracised by her fellow pupils. The eerie atmosphere and evocative visual style of this strange melodrama are at times reminiscent of the classic mystery 'Picnic At Hanging Rock' and the work of Nicolas Roeg. (Interestingly the film is co-produced by Roeg's son Luc - who himself appeared as a child in 'Walkabout').

Carol Morley is a graduate of St Martins School Of Art and directed a series of short films until her acclaimed 2011 drama-documentary 'Dreams Of A Life' which told the haunting story of a Shepherd's Bush woman whose body was discovered in her flat 3 years after her death. Morley's filmmaking style is enigmatic and her characters elusive - but she has a keen eye and ear for the odder aspects  of British life. 'The Falling' is on one level a jet black comedy - with a terrific performance as the school's eccentric headmistress from Monica Dolan (who you may know as the harassed Welsh Communications Officer Tracey Pritchard in 'W1A' )

The two young leads Maisie Williams and Florence Pugh are excellent - perfectly exuding the strange, febrile energies and intensity of adolescence. Pugh has since gone on to deliver an outstanding performance in 2017's  'Lady Macbeth'  
'The Falling'  is a thought-provoking and ambiguous movie - not easily categorised but full of weird details that will stay with you long after it has finished.