Little does the main male character know when the mistress of the house walks in on him carrying out a sexual assault, she’ll be the scary one in their relationship. A violent sexual period drama, about life lived on nail ends and viscera, suffocated beneath the silence and subservience of Victorian decorum.
The casting of Anna, the maid who is the nearest thing her mistress has to a friend and unwilling witness to all her crimes, with the outstanding black actress Naomi Ackie adds another level to the arc of the story. The mistress’s initial sympathetic struggle against the patriarchal system unravels into a self-serving reinforcement of class and colour as she sacrifices Anna’s sanity and life for her own comfort and well-being.
Excellent film, Spartan told with certitude that no shot or line of dialogue is extraneous or delivered without purpose. Go see.