With a unique visual style, a fantastic grasp of dialogue and a remarkable record of getting great performances, Mary Harron has been a fascinating director since debuting in 1996 with I Shot Andy Warhol. Having already directed features focussing on the minutaie of male identity, infamy and sexual liberation, her new feature is a dissection of female adolescence. Adapted from Rebecca Klein’s 2002 novel, The Moth Diaries is a striking, daring exploration of burgeoning female sexuality.
Set in an exclusive all-girls boarding school, The Moth Diaries follows Rebecca(Sarah Bolger, In America) as she struggles to cope with her best friend Lucy(Sarah Gadon, Cosmopolis)’s almost slavish devotion to the ethereal, aloof Ernessa(a terrifying Lily Cole). As Lucy gets more and more frail, and Rebecca has to try to save her friend while figuring out exactly what Ernessa is.
An allegorical horror story in the Carrie vein, there are signifiers for the everyday amongst all the supernatural trauma; angst, anorexia and sex all mix in with the obsessions and bloodied corpses. With Harron's incredible eye for lush visuals, a location to rival The Overlook Motel and two incredible lead performaces, The Moth Diaries is a beguiling treat.
Rory Bonass, JDIFF