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Elyse film review

★★

Directed by: #StellaHopkins

Written by: #StellaHopkins and #AudreyArkins

Film review by: Brian Penn

 
Elyse (2020)

Elyse has essentially two things going for it; shot partially in the restful clarity of black and white and Sir Anthony Hopkins, whose brilliance cannot stop this film falling into a pit of mediocrity. It’s difficult to see what appealed to him aside from the fact his wife directed and co-wrote this flat tale of mental breakdown. The narrative crawls along and fails to engage the viewer on any meaningful level.


Lisa Pepper plays Elyse Bridges, a deeply unhappy mother in a loveless marriage to hotshot lawyer Steven (Aaron Tucker). Her poisonous mother Goldie (Fran Tucker) lurks in the background eagerly twisting the knife at every given opportunity. After thirty minutes of empty dialogue the narrative awakes from its slumber.


Unsurprisingly, this is where Anthony Hopkins joins the party as psychotherapist Dr Lewis. He adds understated flair and presence although the scene is strange in its construction. Lewis sits in shadow while Elyse strolls around the room discussing art and Freudianism. Hopkins looks mildly confused and frankly I don’t blame him. This pleasant interlude is swiftly followed by a dinner party for Steven’s birthday that is actually funny thanks to some wayward acting. The film switches to colour for her admission to hospital. Elyse enters a catatonic state, and the good doctor contemplates what treatment might rouse his patient from this condition.


The characters are hopelessly one dimensional and little more than cardboard cut-outs. Hopkins shines like a beacon and is the only actor worth watching just to see how he salvages such a poorly constructed film. The script goes missing at regular intervals and does little to make the viewing experience any more bearable. Hopkins should be commended for his patronage and gets an extra star for his presence alone. But it’s no more than an ill-conceived vanity project given credibility it hasn’t really earned.

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