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film review

Evan Rachel Wood in Allure, an Entertainment One release.Entertainment One

Rating:

2 out of 4 stars
  • Allure
  • Written and directed by Carlos and Jason Sanchez
  • Starring Evan Rachel Wood
  • Classification 14A
  • 105 minutes

Montreal photographers Carlos and Jason Sanchez make their feature-film debut with this dark reflection on the cycle of abuse.

In a consistently strong performance, Evan Rachel Wood plays the angry young Laura, an alcoholic house cleaner who seeks rough sex with men and stalks other women – mainly the clients of her father’s cleaning company. We watch in horror as she manipulates a lonely teenager (Julia Sarah Stone) into running away from home to live with her, before the film eventually reveals the ways in which Laura is also a victim.

Unfortunately, it’s too late in the action to establish much sympathy for this difficult character, and neither the script nor Stone’s small performance as the little Eva give us much space to consider the improbably naive teen as something more deeply human than jail bait for both Laura and the plot. The drama is memorable but often feels grimly unpleasant rather than moving. And, as always, it’s frustrating to see Montreal cast as some anonymous and unilingual North American city.