- Written by
- Liv Ullman
- Directed by
- Liv Ullman
- Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton
The late Ingmar Bergman's muse, actress Liv Ullmann, has a wealth of acting and a few directing credits to her name (Faithless, Private Confessions).
Ullmann's experience as protégé to the cinema's most profound dramatist, and a talented cast (Jessica Chastain, Colin Farrell and Samantha Morton) raised early hopes she could find a fresh take on playwright August Strindberg's canonical 1888 play about the tortured relationship between a spoiled heiress and her family valet.
Ullmann has transplanted the play, set over the course of a Midsummer Night's Eve revelries, to a baronial castle in late-19th century Ireland, for no particular purpose except to provide the cast with a reasonably uniform accent.
The film is visually bland, with only a couple of bookending outdoor sequences around a handful of interior sets.
Chastain as the headstrong Julie and Farrell as the self-loathing servant John have a few pulse-raising scenes, but they only partly convey the tragic depth of the couple's entanglement. More vivid is a deliberately dowdy Samantha Morton as the cook and John's fiancée, Kathleen, who is the appalled witness to these deadly upstairs-downstairs games.