Allure (2017) ** bluray release

June 20th, 2018
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir.: Carlos and Jason Sanchez; Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Julia Sarah Stone, Denis O’Hare, Maxim Roy; Canada 2017, 105 min.

Carlos and Jason Sanchez’ feature debut is an overblown melodrama lacking any serious theoretical background deserving of this sensitive topic of sexual abuse. Well acted by the two leads, this sensationist psychodrama relies on Sara Mishara’s eclectic images to convey atmosphere. 

Laura (Wood), a woman in her late twenties, works as a cleaner in her father William’s business. She is introduced to us having rough, anonymous sex with a stranger. On one of her cleaning jobs, she meets sixteen year old Eva (Stone), whose controlling mother Nancy (Roy), wants to move her out of her childhood home so they can join her new boyfriend in his place. Somehow Eva falls for Laura, and instead, moves in with her. Laura obviously suffers from severe Bi-Polar symptoms and is hardly the ideal partner, but Eva stays with her as a toxic relationship develops. Slowly a role reversal takes place as Eva starts to mother Laura who seems more and more imbalanced, eventually becoming the sexual victim of two men. It appears that Laura has been sexually abused by her father (O’Hara) who at one point tries to apologises for his behaviour. But since we are never quiet sure of the past, the enigmatic narrative just veers into a series of meaningless, melodramatic encounters.

It is well known that abuse victims create a circle of violence in their own lives, trying helplessly to re-create the situation of the original dysfunction. But Allure is so one-dimensional that Laura’s relationship with Eva is simply shown as a homophobic nightmare. This simplistic approach often spoils the positive production values, and Mishara’s moody images using filters to highlight the nightly atmosphere of threat, are a case in point. Wood and Stone put on a bravura performance, but ALLURE still fails to convince, deserving a more mature and less sensationalist approach. AS .


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