Firstly Jemima Rooper deserves more recognition for her on screen performances and hopefully her upcoming role as Olivia Winfiled Foxworth in the series Flowers In The Attic: The Origin will lift her to loftier heights. Here she is ably supported by Kate Dickie (Game of Thrones, Raven’s Hollow) in a mother/daughter relationship that has turned sour across time. When these two actors combine, there is potential for strong calibre in the characters they portray.
It’s clear that Laura (Rooper) has unravelled beyond any hope of piecing things back together. Surviving on self-medication, be it alcohol or cocaine she tries to conceal the trauma band aid beneath her business-like veneer. Laura tries to connect with the outside world through a feeble attempt at a relationship but her advances are rejected as the mask slips away, revealing a darkness below. As she spirals out, Laura has an overdose but a mysterious black goo brings her back to life but for what purpose?
When she comes too, Laura believes gets a call from her estranged mother Celia (Dickie) and is compelled to return home. What she finds upon her return is something deeply entrenched in her small childhood town that oozes from British folklore and sinister occult practices.
Ben Steiner (director) tackles a paganistic tale about childhood trauma through an occult lens.
There is plenty in the mix here from a vindictive, overbearing and narcissistic mother; an old flame; and the struggles of religion against pagan beliefs to tempt or sway the soul.
Whilst the story itself doesn’t offer anything new, both Rooper and Dickie bring weight to their roles, grounding the small town folk phenomena.
It is through their characters that the audience is pulled into the quagmire of tragic upheaval, where the mental scars run deeper than humankind can contain.
- Saul Muerte
Matriarch is currently streaming on Disney Plus.