Secrets And Lies (Movie Thoughts: The Daughter)

_315x420_d17ea4ce45f53c54a8f9561be732ff586e0d20e79373b4648d0b0ac173fb47fd“The Daughter,” directed by Simon is apparently loosely based on Ibsen’s ‘The Wild Duck,’ but I would not know since I have not seen or read that play. But initially, i thought this was one of those costume pieces, and that’s what initially attracted me to it. As it turns it, this is set in fairly modern times, and there’s even a topical set up wherein a mill is closing in rural Australia leaving a whole town virtually jobless. The patriarch of the mill and of his family, Henry (Geoffrey Rush) is getting married to his much younger housekeeper, and his son, Christian,  who has been living in the States (Paul Schneider) has gone home to attend the wedding, and his presence opens old wounds and reveal secrets that break families apart here. At first I thought the whole thing very soap-y but there is such elegance and restraint in the storytelling, and the acting, that I was immediately taken by all of it. In the hands of a hack director, I could have imagined the screaming, pleading, face slappings, but this film is a celebration of subtlety, just like real people in real life situations.  I thought everyone did a great job, but I was especially impressed with Miranda Otto, who plays Charlotte, the bearer of the ‘big secret.’ You are perhaps supposed to be enraged at here, but I took her side instantly. And it was nice to see teh Ajstralian scenery, which gave the film its allover moody glow.

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