Presence of Mind
Presence of Mind
Directed: Antoni Aloy
Country: Spain / UK / USA
Genre: Drama, Mystery
A young nanny travels from England to Mallorca to care for two orphaned English children. At first enchanted by the children and their estate, she is then alarmed by their strange behavior and the mysterious events that occur. She doggedly follows her instincts and the truth that slowly, painfully emerges results in everyone's undoing, including her own.
Movie ReviewsA splendid retelling of the Henry James classic ghost story `The Turn of the Screw' featuring Sadie Frost, Lauren Bacall and a brief appearance by Harvey Keitel. Set in a sun bleached Spanish location the story concerns a governess who comes to a rambling old mansion to care for two siblings who may or may not be possessed by the spirits of two servants previously employed at the house. It's for the viewer to ultimately decide whether the spirits exist externally or are demons in the haunted mind of the sexually repressed governess.
The photography is luminous and the sets and costumes brilliant. Lauren Bacall's performance is thoughtful and restrained while the children steal the show by being convincingly sinister while exuding childish innocence. The main weakness is a plot that relies on nothing more than a few brief ghostly apparitions accompanied by spooky sound affects. Most of the horror takes place off screen and `things that go bump in the night' - and the day - may not be enough to frighten contemporary audiences.
Another weakness is Sadie Frost's portrayal of the governess: her acting is unconvincing and at times her hysterics border on the amateur. But she's too well supported by the other cast members, especially the kids - creepy but beautiful - that `Presence of Mind' is a pleasure to look at and spend a relaxing ninety minutes being lulled into a different world of sunshine and shadows and the possibility that ghost appear in daylight too.`Presence of Mind' is definitely one to watch late at night if you enjoy and your spine gently tingled before bedtime.