The joy of watching a good movie is escapism. We watch films to be transported, to escape the pleasure of our humdrum lives, and to be someone we’re not. However, sometimes a work comes along which doesn’t allow you to escape. It takes you prisoner in the narrative and makes you feel everything. Everything! It doesn’t matter how uncomfortable it makes you. 

Walking into the theater, Resurrection was a wild card for yours truly. I didn’t know what I was getting into. This is a small movie with little word of mouth. It made me squirm, it made me think and I’m still thinking about it two days later. Here are my (spoiler-free) thoughts on Resurrection! 

Resurrection follows Margaret (Rebecca Hall). Her life is going great! She’s got a great job and a great relationship with her daughter and has reached a level of confidence and self-actualization of which many of us can only dream. Unfortunately, though, her life spirals out of control when a figure from her youth (Tim Roth) reappears in her life.

RELATED: Nope Spoiler Review

Suddenly, all the trauma of her past comes flooding back to her. She’s forced to fight for her life, her daughter, and everything she holds dear against this terrifying figure she thought was long gone. Rebecca Hall, Tim Roth and Grace Kaufman star in the movie. Andrew Semans directs Resurrection from his script. 

Diving straight in, the lead performances carry a lot of weight toward making Resurrection the tour de force it is. Rebecca Hall and Tim Roth turn in performances that honestly elevate this film. Much of the story’s success rests on their shoulders. In the hands of other actors, Resurrection suddenly finds itself a generic, domestic revenge thriller languishing in the middle of January. The DNA of those movies is undoubtedly present in Resurrection, but the familiar elements are twisted and supercharged.   

David snarls while talking to Margaret in the film "Resurrection."

Rebecca Hall is, of course, a treasure. She crosses genres with ease and kills it each and every time. She’s emerged with force, especially in recent years after performances in Christine and her flawless direction of Passing. This doesn’t even factor in her performances in popcorn flicks like Godzilla vs. Kong.

Hall is no less stunning this time out; her contribution shows in every film frame. Semans has complete faith in his lead actress and isn’t afraid to let the camera linger on her. There are several instances where he allows the camera to focus unflinchingly on her in very personal close-ups. Her complete understanding of the character shines through in these intensely private moments. The moments are challenging, they’re intimate and the movie is far stronger for it. 

At the same time, the strength of the narrative rests squarely on Hall’s shoulders. Margaret is a challenging character, especially as the story takes shape. Daniel’s (Roth) appearance throws her for a major loop, and suddenly this intelligent, professional woman with her stuff together is isolated and alienated. Is she crazy? Does she have problems? It’s difficult to say she truly knows. However, it is vital to the success of this story that Margaret does not lose the audience, and in Hall’s powerful and self-assured hands, she doesn’t. 

RELATED: Movie Review: Thor: Love and Thunder

Speaking as a woman, it was easy to get caught up in the power of Margaret’s story. Semans’ script makes a powerful— and at the same time emotional— examination of power dynamics in relationships. Hall’s performance was painful in how relatable it was. It’s easy to identify with this woman who has everything going for her, then, with one change, suddenly feels like a lost child.

This is at the root of her relatability. So many can empathize with the joy of teenage love and the excitement of finally feeling “noticed.” It’s at the heart of so many works of YA lit and even fan fiction. Yet, at the same time, we know the pain and trauma these experiences can also cause. Emotions are fragile and mighty things. 

Margaret stares listlessly while resting her head on blankets in the film "Resurrection."

That said, it’s challenging to pull punches with this movie. Resurrection is not an easy sit, far from it. Much of this stems from a stunning yet terrifying performance from Tim Roth. In his take on David, Margaret’s manipulative ex, the actor reaches new levels. He moves between this man’s layers with terrifying speed. Throughout the story, it is easy to see and understand his charisma. Yet, with little warning, Roth swings the scales towards “unhinged.”

“Unhinged” is probably a good descriptor for this feature tonally. Semans is a relatively new face on the Hollywood scene. A look over his filmography shows one previous film (2012’s Nancy Please). This time, he comes out of the gate showcasing his masterful narrative crafting skill. His writing and directing unite with Hall’s unmistakable presence to explore Margaret’s point of view.

As the audience, we’re squarely and painfully in her shoes. Semans conveys this through the script, the narrative and the camera work. As Margaret begins to question her sanity, the audience simultaneously begins to question theirs. The movie’s eventual conclusion makes it impossible to distinguish fiction from reality. Even if I spoiled the ending … I’m not sure I could explain it. 

RELATED: Check out our movie reviews!

There’s a lot going into each moment in Resurrection, and it must be stressed that this is not an easy or fun movie. There’s little that can be said that wouldn’t be classified as spoilers (None of those here, sweetie!). However, even when we skirt over the plot, Resurrection mines some very challenging emotional material before descending into some truly graphic, violent imagery deep in the third act. Did I enjoy this film? No. Am I still thinking about this movie days after watching it? Yes. 

Resurrection is a must-see for fans of its two leads and those at ease with the onscreen content. It’s hauntingly personal, often uncomfortable, but at the same time, beautiful. If your taste skews toward Hereditary or Requiem for a Dream, this should be right up your alley. 

Resurrection opens in theaters today and will be available everywhere to rent beginning August 5. 

Movie Review – ELVIS

Kimberly Pierce
Follow Me
Latest posts by Kimberly Pierce (see all)