Age, memory and morals is a strong brew in Cameron Lee Horace‘s The Other Woman.
Maisie is in The Silver Twilight, a residential nursing home, and young health professional James (Joe Snape) is trying to make a connection. Rather than breaking through, his presence promotes the internal dialogue from young Maisie (Sophie Colquhoun).
Young Maisie recounts her drive for a life of joy, which included a fair amount of ‘tasting of husbands’. Not hers, you understand. She was ‘tasting’ other people’s husbands. Her relections also points to where the roots of that predeliction may lie.
Recriminations, defence, anger, reminiscence, and joy
As Young Maisie, Colquhoun straddles the wobble board of a mind raging with recriminations, defence, anger, reminiscence, joy… and lust. And the camera lets her. Cameron’s directing allows the space for Colquhoun to slide down and grapple up emotions. DoP Jordan Adcock frames Young Maisie’s defences of what some would call her immorality while highlighting her defiance, brittleness and vulnerability.
It’s especially strong as flashbacks merge with the magical – old Maisie remains mute, while Young Maisie recalls her life – and spirits return to offer their thoughts and experiences to what could be seen as the unreliable rememberances of Maisie herself. Even with so many elements, the story remains singular in its intent as it drives on, scooping up a variety of issues and insecurities on the way.
The Other Woman is inspired by Maisie can you hear me?, a story by Miles Gibson. In adapting it for the screen Cameron has managed to keep the ghosts of the past vivid and add flesh to Maisie’s story.
And you are left wondering about Maisie. Yes, at times she doesn’t seem that nice, with a thing about nose piercings and ‘health professionals’. But there are self-effacing insights (“No-one was 40 in 1968,” she says with an air that combines both childish naughtiness and experienced should-have-know-better) along with the stonewall defence of her choices. Turns out she’s complicated, and Sophie Colquhoun allows that to come through.
Director Cameron Lee Horace steers The Other Woman through the sometimes unreliable reality provided by a narrator who’s at the end of their life, into a story that leaves you questioning your own pursuit of joy, and what you will have to cling onto in the end. The Other Woman is thoughtful, sobering and ambitious storytelling that displays deft sensitivities.
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