ALLURE is the new title of the film A WORTHY COMPANION which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year, a title more uplifting given its sombre subject matter.
Montreal-based fine arts photographers Carlos and Jason Sanchez’s debut (written and directorial) feature is a hard psychological thriller which centres on Laura (Evan Rachel Wood), a thirty-year-old woman, troubled by her past and struggling with a dysfunctional relationship with her father, seeking sexual and emotional fulfillment through a series of failed relationships. However, her life changes when she befriends and convinces an unhappy sixteen-year-old girl, Eva (Julia Sarah Stone) to run away to her house, under the guise of a confidante who wants to help. Although the arrangement initially works, it soon becomes clear that for the young girl to stay and continue satisfying her needs, the older woman will have to employ immoral tactics. Manipulation, denial and co-dependency fuel what ultimately becomes a fractured dynamic that can only sustain itself for so long. Laura also begins sexual advances towards Eva.
But Laura begins getting really obsessive and prevents Eva from leaving the house. The relationship turns out to be something like the Stockholm Syndrome. Apparently, though no details are given, Laura has had the same type of ‘stalking’ problems before, as her dad, who employs her mentions in the film. The film is both disturbing and engaging though onot always likeable. Both actresses Wood and Stone (who looks a-like a very young Catherine Frot, the French actress) bring compassion to their roles and show their need for normalcy. Unfortunately, as can be seen in the film, this normalcy is not easily to come about and the state of affairs come about from their own personal behavioural flaws.
The film’ setting is left vague. Though the wrier/directors are Montrealers, the characters speak fluent English and there is no trace of French. The neighbourhood does look like a typical Montreal neighbourhood though there are no signs in French. The film begins in the fall (judging from the colour of the leaves on the trees) and ends in winter (with snow seen on the ground). It is a school term but nowhere in he film is Eva’s school mentioned. Eva’s schooling is conveniently left out in the story. Or any of her friends or acquaintances. Does Eva not own a cell phone?
The film suffers from an open ended ending, which for a film like this, one expects some satisfactory closure though one would to be surprised that there isn’t one.
ALLURE ends up an ok made, very nasty movie about nasty people dealing with nastiness. The film began with dialogue like: “Fucking faggot!” But one would think that this gay slant nastiness could have been down away with.