The prospect of a film inspired by a notorious 1960s fainting epidemic is an enticing one indeed, considering how under-exploited the incident has been in popular culture. Also enticing is the notion of seeing Arya Stark graduate to the big screen.
Both of these elements provide enough entertainment value to make The Falling worth the effort, although neither quite live up to their potential.
The wide-eyed Maisie Williams has the kind of broadly expressive face that very much suits movies, and she can hold the camera like a pro, even though her character feels a little underwritten. Maxine Peake (The Theory of Everything) is fantastic as her put-upon mother, and feels like a more empathetic take on the ‘harried 1960s English mum’ stereotype we’ve probably seen a little too often.
The events on screen in The Falling are often unnerving, and always interesting, but rarely as lyrical as the film seems to be aiming for. This undermines some of the more disturbing plot turns that arrive in the third act.
The spectre of Peter Weir’s 1975 masterpiece Picnic at Hanging Rock hangs all over the The Falling, and the new film suffers for the comparison. Which is to say, you’ll probably enjoy it more if you haven’t seen the earlier film. Weir effortlessly evoked a sense of mystic wonder that The Falling only hints at in its best moments.
‘The Falling’ movie times