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He Said, She Said Review Site


What She said:


Little India Stoker doesn’t really understand the complexities of the world around her.  Just as she’s turning 18 her father tragically dies and she’s left alone with her somewhat unloving mother.  It doesn’t help that India is terribly shy and appears to be nearly completely void of friends.  She receives only vain comfort from her mother and cannot find peace at school.  As India quietly deals with her problems, a strange man comes into her life—a suave and attractive stranger to her who claims to be her Uncle Charlie.  Uncle Charlie just welcomes himself into the Stoker home, and India’s mother, Evelyn, eagerly accepts him and the attention that he gives her and her daughter.  But India senses that something is wrong, and her curiosities have her wandering down a road of personal discovery.

So, my description of Stoker may be a little vague.  The movie itself actually is as well.  As I watched it, I caught my mind wondering endlessly trying to figure out what was really going on.  I had theories going that Uncle Charlie isn’t actually related.  Then I thought everyone was mistaken about him.  Then some ideas crossed my mind regarding the mother’s involvement.  But I didn’t really envision how things would escalate as the film went along.  Basically, the shizz hits the fan, and things get cray cray. 

Here’s what I liked.  I enjoyed the dramatic cinematography of this film.  It’s pretty dark with lots of shifting shadows and natural lighting usage.  The acting is also very good.  Mia Wasikowska plays the lead role of India very well.  She infuses both an innocence and a troubled side into the girl.  Nicole Kidman also does well as Evelyn.  Her expressionless face goes along with the lack of feeling from Evelyn.  Matthew Goode rounds out the main cast.  You’ll notice him doing a lot of smirking and trying to look brooding.  I wasn’t blown away by him, but I’d say he was certainly effective.  I also liked the somewhat scary direction that Stoker went in.  That’s not to say it’s at all frightening, but it’s more than just a psychological drama or thriller. 


Now on to what I didn’t like.  I’ll start with the customary comment that this movie dragged a little bit.  Maybe it was just my personal frustration with the naivety of the characters of India and Evelyn, but I was waiting for others to question and/or catch on to what was happening.  Also, I liked that the filmmakers gave India a dark edge, but I feel like they may have taken things a little too far.  I get it, she’s in that coming-of-age period and she’s finally finding herself, but they made things sexual that I didn’t think needed to be.  I get easily irked by that type of thing because I feel like it’s the easiest way to pretend the movie you’re making is artsier than it is, and in this case it really added nothing to the story in my opinion.

I’m back and forth about how much I really liked this film.  There were definitely elements that I enjoyed, but others made me feel uneasy, almost like that feeling I get when drinking milk that’s a few days past the sell by date.  For that reason, I cannot fully endorse this flick.

Thumbs half up.