More mournful than frightening, the ghost story Lavender centers on the loss of family. Jane (Abbie Cornish) remembers nothing about her own parents or siblings, and her disquieting photographs present abandoned farmhouses as haunted relics of a family’s absence.
Director Maggie Greenwald has adapted Augusta Trobaugh’s 2001 historical romance into a decorous feminist drama whose characters share many qualities with the willful nonconformists of her other period films, The Ballad of Little Jo and Songcatcher.
In his atmospheric debut film, Simon Stone whittles down The Wild Duck into a cautionary tale about welcoming home an emotional exile. While stage adaptations of Henrik Ibsen’s tragicomedy often emphasize its farcical elements, Stone sticks to tragedy in his naturalistic version.
In the trying relationship drama Between Us, a thirtysomething couple addresses commitment pressures with a childish display: a discussion about marriage builds to frenzied chanting and flailing dancing that dissolves into exhausted giggles.
While this unpleasant thriller isn’t about our annus horribilis, director Richard Bates Jr. captures two familiar states: the feeling of being trapped in a cycle of misery, and the growing dread that something worse is just around the corner.