Allure (2017)

  • Time: 105 min
  • Genre: Drama | Romance | Thriller
  • Directors: Carlos Sanchez, Jason Sanchez
  • Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Julia Sarah Stone, Denis O’Hare

Storyline:

Plagued by the abuse of her past and the turmoil of failed intimate encounters, Laura struggles to find a lover and a sense of normalcy. Her beacon of hope comes in sixteen year-old Eva, a talented pianist disillusioned by the life her mother imposes upon her. An unlikely relationship is formed between the two and Eva becomes an obsession to Laura. In light of Eva’s unhappiness, Laura convinces her to runaway to her house and they soon find themselves caught within an intense entanglement. Manipulation, denial and codependency fuel what ultimately becomes a fractured dynamic that can only sustain itself for so long.

One review

  • An often unsettling and unrelentingly grim portrait of how the abused becomes the abuser, Allure features a trenchant performance from Evan Rachel Wood as Laura, a thirty-ish house cleaner and enmeshed in a dangerous affair.

    Laura is first in a hotel room having sex with a blindfolded stranger, who flees when the encounter becomes violent for his liking. Laura is clearly damaged and there’s a strong suggestion that her relationship with her father / boss William (Denis O’Hare) may be the cause for her self-destructive nature. There’s a palpable uneasiness in their exchanges – at first, one thinks it’s because the aimless depends on him for financial support.

    Theirs is not the only strained parent-child relation. Eva (Julia Sarah Stone) is sixteen, slowly being crushed under the weight of her mother’s (Maxim Roy) expectations. Then there’s her mother’s decision to sell their house so that she can move in with her boyfriend and son. So when Laura is hired to clean Eva’s house, it’s no surprise when Eva starts to warm up Laura’s attention. It is also believable when Eva decides to take up Laura is a great place to live in. She has a lot to do with her life. .

    Yet it is at this point when Allure starts to strain credibility. It is difficult to swallow the events that unfold, though both Wood and Stone do excellent work in psychology. One completely understands how Eva could view Laura as a refuge from her domineering mother, although not necessarily why she should have felt with Laura when things take a darker turn. One can empathize with how Laura sees her situation in her own way. Laura’s fits abuse manifests herself in her desperate and craven behavior. However, despite Wood and Stone’s best efforts, there’s no overcoming the film’s implausibilities.

    On the technical side, Allure does benefit from the visual atmospherics created by Carlos and Jason Sanchez, the Montreal-based sibling photographers making their feature film debut.

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