The story follows Elizabeth (Natalie Portman) an actress offered the role of Gracie (Julianne Moore) in a film recreation of Gracie’s scandalous tabloid affair with a 13 year-old Joe (Charles Melton).
To better play the role Elizabeth goes to study Gracie in the field and observe her day-to-day life with her now husband Joe, who is now of the same age Gracie was when they met.
It’s eerie and tender Hayne’s directing and Marcelo Zero’s score create a space in which you as a viewer loop in-and-out of the story and between the characters. There is a continuous back and forth relationship between chemistry and tensions. It’s omnipresent. And especially that character study, figurative and factual, is the most gripping part of the film.
And don’t get me wrong, the story deserves all of the flowers taking its name from an expression used to describe a relationship between old and young partners. It’s a carefully crafted drama about sexual abuse and the marginalisation of trauma which are hard topics to execute well.
The story makes sure to lure the viewer into the sense of a safe environment only to deliver sickening gut punches that will make you question what you were watching the whole time and whether you should’ve enjoyed it at all.