The Governess

  • Film
  • Action and adventure
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The 1840s. After the murder of her father, Rosina (Driver) sheds her Jewish identity and arrives on a Scottish island to work as a governess. Her charge's father, Charles (Wilkinson), is obsessed with the secrets of photography. Rosina is fascinated and soon the pair are entwined. Writer/director Goldbacher knows how to create atmosphere - the early London scenes have a musty, sensual sweetness straight out of Daniel Deronda. The edgy camera alerts us to potential fracture: even before the father's double life is exposed, we know something's amiss. When the action moves to Scotland, however, doubts begin to creep in - a voyage of female self-discovery set by the bleak sea? Surely The Piano and Breaking the Waves have been there, done that. Nevertheless, the script keeps you intrigued and the use of photography as a metaphor for emotional 'preservation' is delicately done. Driver is full of hoity-toity charisma. Luckily, however, Wilkinson's wonderfully quiet performance doesn't go to waste.

Release details

Duration: 114 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Sandra Goldbacher
Screenwriter: Sandra Goldbacher
Cast: Minnie Driver
Tom Wilkinson
Harriet Walter
Florence Hoath
Bruce Myers
Jonathan Rhys Meyers
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