Stephanie Daley (2006)

HILARY BROUGHER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

USA, 2006.   RedBone Films, Silverwood Films.   Screenplay by Hilary Brougher.   Cinematography by .   Produced by , , , .   Music by .   Production Design by .   Costume Design by .   Film Editing by .   Independent Spirit Awards 2006.   

Tilda Swinton plays a forensic psychologist who is assigned the arduous task of assessing the mental competency of a teenager () on trial for the murder of her own baby. Swinton is herself heavily pregnant with her own child, a year after having given birth to a stillborn baby, so the subject matter hits closer to home than she wants it to despite her best efforts. She spends her days digging into the young woman’s mind to find out just what happened on the day she allegedly gave birth to and then strangled her own child. Despite ending a bit too abruptly, this absorbing independent film betrays its low budget in production values but not in emotional quality. The direction is strong throughout and the two performances by the leads are extraordinarily powerful.

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