The Eternal Daughter (2022)

96% – Critics

The Eternal Daughter Storyline

In this ghost story from acclaimed filmmaker Joanna Hogg, a middle-aged daughter and her elderly mother must confront long-buried secrets when they return to their former family home, a once-grand manor that has become a nearly vacant hotel brimming with mystery.

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The Eternal Daughter Movie Reviews

Good drama, but missed opportunities!

A film with Tilda Swinton is always worth watching and so is this one! Though I have to say that I expected a little bit more after I read about the film at the Viennale (Vienna International Film Festival). What irritated me were the tags ghost story, supernatural, spooky and so on. Not that I expected a real horror movie, far from it. But not such a lame attempt of a ghost story.

The film starts out with a scene of a foggy country street and a lonely taxi coming along, quite evocative of old Hammer films of the sixties or early seventies. The main setting in an old country mansion turned hotel was a good choice. As was the rather unfriendly receptionist/waitress/housekeeper who raises a lot of questions in the mind of the viewer and is a highlight of the film. The mother and daughter conflict is very subtly done and evolves beautifully the longer they stay at the hotel, and the absence of other guests is quite unsettling.

But, being in a lonely hotel would make even completely relaxed people jumpy and here we have someone who is in a very difficult stage of her life and we could expect much more unusual things for her to hear or see other than what we get here. Tilda Swinton does her best to make us fell uncomfortable, but with this script there is not much to do. A little fog, some creaky trees and a shot of the moon, my, this is what you get in every other episode of Midsomer Murders, I am sorry to say! That is not upsetting or disturbing anymore, in fact it is a cliché and more of a parody. Besides, we all have seen films of people in empty hotels before and therefore you have to bring some new ideas to this setting.

When the film ended I was disappointed, there would have been chances to lead the viewer around but they are missed. I have guessed from the beginning what is reveiled at the end and that did not satisfy me either, I hoped that some twist eluded me, but no.