An unremarkably intoxicating film, sitting through it, you will most likely be on the edge of your seat, transfixed by cinematic brilliance of mixing art house with horror. Prolific director Edward Wright is able to accurately capture the psyche of a female mod superstar in a male-dominated entertainment industry, and the cycle of abuse pertaining to aspiring ingenues in London’s patriarchal society.
The movie begins with Eloise, who is a naive country girl hoping to become the next Coco Chanel. She sees herself as a modern day Holly Golightly when the opportunity of studying fashion in the heart of London’s Soho district comes into fruition, not knowing what to expect. Somewhat of an outcast, the social scene and urban life is overwhelming for her so she decides to find her own apartment outside of her fashion school and gets a job at a bar so she can afford rent, and keep up to date with the latest of what’s fashionable.
However, there’s something eerily haunting about the room she’s staying in; at night she starts manifesting a vision of allegedly a spirit who lived in the room before her. She’s transported to a different time period, the 60s, where she derives inspiration from in her own manner of dress and designs.
Eloise begins to embody this spirit, even going to the extreme of dying her hair blond. She uses the flashbacks she conjures up in her dreams to match her fashion vision which gives her an edge in innovation compared to her other peers.
Depicted through her dreams, we start to see the pressure and disappointment that comes with being a starlet and soon we begin to piece together the incentive of Eloise’s deceased mother for offing herself.
Things abruptly go south when the dreams she starts having don’t align with her ethos, and start haunting her as nightmares. This movie is a testament to what it’s like to be a star, crushed by expectations of the industry, and forced to separate the “art” from the “person”. Eloise’s ethics are challenged when she realizes the truth, learning that the spirit she was manifesting was living right under her nose all along.
While Eloise experiences a mental breakdown, however, she ends up winning in the end because she’s the protagonist of her own story and she holds onto her power as a survivor and as a creator of her own narrative.
A definite must-see, the movie unfolds flawlessly, touching upon racial, sex and age barriers, leaving the audience mesmerized in disbelief and awe.