Allure: Film Review

What I love about Evan Rachel Wood is that she doesn’t take on easy roles – she takes on challenging, uncomfortable characters who do questionable things and isn’t afraid to play someone extremely damaged. This is demonstrated the most in Allure.

She plays Laura, who works at a cleaning company for her dad William (Denis O’Hare). She goes round to clean this wealthy women’s house and seems to be drawn towards her teenage daughter Eva (Julia Sarah Stone). One day, Eva has an horrific argument with her mum and Laura encourages Eva to run away and come live with her. It seems quite innocent at first – she just wants to help out a friend, or a girl she fancies – but things become twisted when she won’t let Eva leave or call anyone, effectively holding her captive, noting that she will be jailed if anyone finds out where Eva went, given that the police have launched a missing person’s investigation.

Allure is not at all what I expected it to be. It is pretty shocking and controversial. It handles a lot of big themes, because Laura is obviously struggling mentally, a fallout from some past trauma which we will discover later on. That doesn’t excuse her behaviour but it does make you feel sorry for her and know she’s not a total monster, forcing a teenager to become her girlfriend and then becoming jealous and controlling. Admittedly, the scenes of a sexual nature between the two are quite uncomfortable to watch – because of the age difference and also because you can’t tell if Eva actually wants to.

Wood is fantastic. As I said before, Laura is one heck of a complex character and not someone you can obviously relate to – her choices make no sense, but she is troubled and that goes some way to explain her behaviour. Playing someone like that is a bold move though, Laura really doesn’t have many redeeming qualities, so I praise Wood for that. I didn’t know Stone but she was equally brilliant, not letting Wood’s big, emotional performance diminish her own.

Allure isn’t going to appeal to the masses because it is pretty eyebrow-raising stuff and is a hard, uncomfortable watch that doesn’t shy away from anything. Despite its seriousness and darkness, it is still a very good movie – I can really appreciate the performances, the script, characters and story. If you’re feeling in the mood for a challenging watch, or are a fan of Wood, definitely give this a go.

In selected cinemas Friday 18th May 

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