Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Falling World: Movie Review

Empty characters in a beautiful country estate.

The Falling World is a very deliberately-paced drama where almost nothing happens. Nothing happens for the first hour, and then for the final 10 minutes, past secrets are finally revealed and characters make off like a bandit. It’s a world that is filled with insane and boring characters (two descriptions that rarely go together, but here they do) and there is just zero empathy for any of them.   2022

Directed by: Jaclyn Bethany

Screenplay by: Jaclyn Bethany

Starring: Ayumi Patterson, Isabelle Chester

It’s fall break and they’re about to spend the weekend at Hadley’s family estate. This is like an old abandoned castle, except owned by a rich family who use it occasionally whenever they feel like it, or whenever there are bodies to be buried.

Lark (Ayumi Patterson) is the new one. She’s younger than the others, in her first year of law school; the rest are third-year law students. They make comments to her that she’s “so lucky to be invited into Hadley’s friend group.” That’s exactly how mean girl cliques sound. Rich blonde Hadley and her vapid friends don’t seem very interesting to me. So the only real question is, why is Lark there? Unless she’s just as insipid as the rest of them. Hint: she unintentionally is.

Hadley’s sister Margot is already there when the group arrives. Margot has a husband who hates her, a book she’s not writing and a sister who doesn’t want her there. She just may spill the tea. But be warned that the only tea that gets spilled is an incident happened at this location two years ago involving the same people and some mystery person named Jill. This certainly sounds like it could be interesting, but it’s not.

The first hour is just six people hanging out. We learn a few things about Lark, but that’s it. The others just drink, smoke, lounge about in the woods with the falling leaves and a cold pristine lake. Everything they say is just so self-absorbed and passive aggressive that there is nothing interesting to learn about them. Maeve calls Lark a psychopath and then laughs it off as if it was a compliment and then leaves because she’s not actually involved in the story, is just one tiny example of empty, worthless characters.

Everything about The Falling World is leading us to the resolution of the mystery from two-years ago. While I appreciate the fact that it doesn’t get wrapped up in a neat bow and the audience is forced to read between the lines, the big issue is that mystery just isn’t interesting, or even surprising. Rich people who are so caught up in their own lives that they don’t notice or care about the world around them is not entertaining in and of itself. There needs to be more than just pretty country scenery and empty people.