by Rob DiCristino
Spoilers for Resurrection ahead.
For some actors, success comes early. Bright-eyed and baby-faced, they leap onto the scene with just the indescribable x-factor that we’ve all been waiting for. We watch their careers blossom and contract at the whim of an unforgiving popular culture, waiting to see how they’ll weather those storms and into what shape that ridiculous pressure will pound them. Others take time to develop, approaching their artistic crescendo with more practiced, deliberate care. They’re doing the work, of course, toiling away in supporting parts and even forcing the issue with a screenplay or directing project of their own. And though Rebecca Hall is hardly new on the scene — acting since childhood and earning recognition way back with The Prestige and The Town — it’s reasonable to say that she’s finally hitting her stride with stirring turns in genre fare like Christine and The Night House, as well as in her directorial debut, last year’s robust and thoughtful Passing. She’s becoming synonymous with a great time at the movies, well worth Resurrection's ticket price all on her own.
Though terms like “gaslighting” and “grooming” have been diluted to near-meaninglessness by overuse online in recent years, Resurrection is an eerily authentic and compelling example of those phenomena in action. Margaret has a clear intellectual understanding of her objective reality, but simple queues from David have the power to corrupt that reality into something else, something rooted in emotion and insecurity. As a teenager, Margaret proved her worth to the much-older David through what he called “kindnesses,” errands and tasks that ranged from washing dishes to walking barefoot from place to place. These kindnesses would seem innocuous — even pointless — to an outsider, but they were key to instilling in Margaret that need to prove herself to David to earn his affection. Even years later — long after she’d fled their chaotic romance and managed to deprogram herself — the mere mention of a “kindness” is enough to provoke a reaction. With only words, David is able to dismantle Margaret’s entire life and, worse yet, make her feel as if that’s what she wants to happen.
Resurrection hits theaters Friday and On Demand services on August 5th.