Director: Leigh Janiak
Writer: Phil Graziadei, Leigh Janiak
Cast: Rose Leslie, Harry Treadaway, Ben Huber, Hanna Brown
Part of: /slash Filmfestival
[Reviews by cornholio and Maynard Morrissey.]
Bea (Rose Leslie) and Paul (Harry Treadaway) just got married and want to spend their honeymoon in the cabin of Bea’s family. When they arrive there, things seem to be perfect. But already on the second day things start to get weird when Paul wakes in the middle of the night to find that Bea is gone. In panic he looks for her and finally finds her in the middle of the woods, apparently sleepwalking. But Paul doubts that this is all that there is to it, especially when Bea’s behavior continues to be off.
Honeymoon has many strengths but in the end it didn’t manage to convince me. I just couldn’t really find my way into the film and was kept at too much of a distance for it to really work.
I really like the beginning of the film. The way Paul and Bea’s relationship is set up is very well done and creates a wonderful atmosphere. The script lays the groundwork here but really it’s both Rose Leslie’s and Harry Treadaway’s performances that make it come to life. I had no problem whatsoever believing that they were madly in love with each other. And their performance generally stayed strong throughout the entire film.
But instead of using the plot to really analyze the relationship and the way it changes throughout the film, the plot and the characters got into each other’s way and hampered each other – which is one of the reasons why the film didn’t work for me.
The other reason was that I would have preferred to see the story from Bea’s perspective instead of Paul’s. Not only because it would have moved the plot away from the “mystery that is woman” trope it comes dangerously close to at times, but mostly because the story is a rape analogy. Rape here is not only a reason for tension in the relationship, for alienation between the couple but also for a loss of identity: Bea stops being who she was pre-rape and Paul finds himself in a relationship with a strange woman. Both are conflicts, but I would have been more interested in Bea’s struggle, instead of Paul’s.
Of course, that analogy does fall apart a bit at the end. And I found their explanation generally a bit lackluster. I’m sure they were going for hommage, but since the original concept isn’t so much my thing, an hommage to it doesn’t work too well, either. [Keeping this vague in order to not give too much away.] It was a rather disappointing ending to a film I already couldn’t get too much into, despite all the good and interesting things about it.