DRAMA; M, 1hr 38min
STARRING: Helen Mirren, Martina Gedeck
Emerging author Magda (The Lives of Others’ Gedeck) astutely observes in film-maker István Szabó’s oblique and annoying hand-wringer that nobody is easy. But surely no-one comes close to her and her ailing husband’s (Károly Eperjes) haughty, secretive domestic, Emerenc (Mirren). The lady is not your everyday maid. She chooses her employers, for one thing. For another, not a soul in 1960s suburban Budapest has crossed the threshold of her humble flat in 20 years.
But spiky Emerenc also has a heart —and a Tragic History. The unravelling of its knots is made brusque, impassioned work of by Mirren, as forceful in her grumpy strangeness as she is in every role she plays. Strange, too, alas, is Szabó’s uninvolving dramatisation of the in-part-autobiographical 1987 novel by Magda Szabó (no relation), the screenplay’s off-kilter moods a stilted detraction from the two women’s growing closeness. So much malaise for such an over-stylised and unsatisfying result! As well intentioned as Magda and Emerenc are, they’re royal pains to spend time with.
Andiee's Rating: **More Reviews