Drawing together a dream ensemble cast that includes Geoffrey Rush, Sam Neill, Miranda Otto and incendiary teenage newcomer Odessa Young, The Daughter is the feature debut of acclaimed Australian stage director Simon Stone. Building on his theatrical modus operandi of modernising 19th-century Russian texts, he reimagines for the screen his hugely successful stage adaptation of Ibsen’s The Wild Duck, updated to 21st-century small town Australia.
Paul Schneider is Christian, a prodigal son returning after many years to his rural hometown, for his father’s wedding. He finds the world he knew pushed into a deepening decline hastened by his father’s recent closure of the local saw-mill. His return brings with it the unravelling of a deep rooted family secret that threatens to break apart the lives of the few remaining townspeople, and those once closest to him. The film mines Ibsen’s themes of class and sexual division to suggest they are still painfully real in the contemporary world. — TW
“Australian cinema is known to engage with long-standing familial feuds… but debut feature filmmaker Simon Stone, writer, director and enfant terrible of Australian theatre, may have fashioned its most atmospherically striking bloodline squabble yet.
There are note-perfect performances from the pedigreed cast and Stone spreads the love so that nobody and everybody steals the show… While The Daughter is no lark, however, it also exists on a level that distinguishes it from most other dramas: it is a mood piece told with a lyrical energy both lush and dangerous.” — Luke Buckmaster, The Guardian