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LFF 2014: Thou Wast Mild and Lovely | reviews, news & interviews

LFF 2014: Thou Wast Mild and Lovely

LFF 2014: Thou Wast Mild and Lovely

Josephine Decker's second film is striking and very strange

"Fey and disconcerting": Sophie Traub in 'Thou Wast Mild and Lovely'

Ushering in the mucky-minded art-house crowd like the Pied Piper lining up kids for the snatching, Thou Wast Mild and Lovely describes itself as an erotic thriller set amidst the Kentucky wilds, while its fluid, meadow-fresh depiction of forbidden romance recalls Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven. However, it's a film that turns surprisingly savage with 'hillbilly horror flick' a more apt description of where things end up.

In fact diverse influences abound throughout; John Steinbeck’s East of Eden provides partial inspiration and there are allusions to the work of Carlos Reygadas (Post Tenebras Lux) and David Lynch. Writer-director Josephine Decker - whose debut feature Butter on the Latch also screens at this year's LFF - adds ample ideas of her own to create something dynamic, unrelentingly odd and really rather interesting.

Joe Swanberg plays Akin who's taken on as a farm hand by the overtly sinister Jeremiah (Robert Longstreet). Jeremiah's adult daughter Sarah (Sophie Traub) is a fey creature who teams a teasing, oft-insatiable sexuality with a childlikeness and some fairly obvious mental deficiencies - a disconcerting fusion summed up by her constant, suggestive twirling of a red ribbon. But Akin isn't a man of abundant sense either and they tumble into an affair, setting things up for an ugly showdown when his wife and child decide to pay him a visit.

Those who like their films chaste and heavy on the exposition might want to give this one a swerve, though it'll certainly act as a deterrent for errant men-folk. It's also a film that probably needs a touch more structure, development and, like Akin, sense. Yet Decker's intimate approach has an immersive effect and the woozy, elliptical visuals give an impression of both romantic intoxication and things spiralling out of control. Thou Wast Mild and Lovely is as horrible as it is beautiful and that's just grand.


Those who like their films chaste and heavy on the exposition might want to give this one a swerve


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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