Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Esme, My Love (Written Review)


Esme My Love


Cast: Stacey Weckstein, Audrey Grace Marshall

Writers: Laura Allen , Cory Choy

Director: Cory Choy

When Esme(Audrey Grace Marshall) is brought to her family farm by her mother Hannah( Stacey Weckstein) to spend quality time together.  They both discover ghosts from their pasts that haunt them in this supernatural drama.  

A lot of this review is me making assumptions because I really wasn't clear It wasn’t quite clear, but it looked like to me that Esme is Hannah’s daughter from another marriage because at the start.  The little girl is humming a tune that belonged to someone named Emily who the mom knows but she doesn’t. Which I found kind of strange.  Even though it’s explained that Emily went to live with her grandparents on the farm.  I really don’t understand as to why she was.   It wasn’t until I saw Hannah chasing after a ghostly image of a young girl that I understood that her previous daughter died and she is tormented that the same will happen to Esme.  

From Esme’s perspective she is just witnessing her mother go bat shit insane in her quest to find Emily. She has violent outbreaks at times and in one scene.  Her mind just drifts off while her daughter falls into the lake and is struggling to get out. There are portions of the movie where Esme is being stalked by a woman who looks similar to Hannah but is missing facial features like eyes and a mouth. From my assumption it could be that Hannah is suffering from dementia and that’s why her daughter is seeing her all disfigured because she can’t recognize her anymore.

It’s clear that director Cory Choy was influenced by these movies from these filmmakers Terrence Malick ( Badlands), Lars Von Trier (Antichrist) and even Ari Aster(Hereditary). If you have seen those movies you can see the connections they had with this.  It has very good performances from the lead actors especially Audrey Grace Marshall as Esme. Both her and Stacey Weckstein work very well and have good on screen chemistry in many moments   The film also boasts some great looking cinematography from Fletcher Wolfe and solid direction from Cory Choy.  Where it falters for me is in the structure and editing.

The movie should have had a scene prior to them being in the car to explain to the audience on why they are going to the farm.  If it was going to start in the car that’s cool but I wish it could have shown a flashback as to why they were going.  I also thought the main character of this movie should have been Esme, but the movie goes kind of back and forth on whose story this is. At some points we are seing things through Hannah’s eyes and others its Esme. If it was done strictly the little girl’s point of view, it would be ok that we don’t understand much of what's going on because neither does she. 

The score while good didn’t fit the tone of the film for me.  I understand that during the scary sequences you want to have music that fits it, but in those moments.  It felt like it was lifted from another movie entirely.  Many of the vocals used in some tracks would have benefited more if it was done by a young girl rather than a middle aged woman.  

Esme, My Love is a movie that has good style and great performances from it’s cast but this film could easily be cut down to 45 minutes an hour tops and you would still understand the story better.

** and 1/2 *'s  out of Five.


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