One gloomy night, a middle-aged filmmaker and her elderly mother arrive at a fog-enshrouded hotel in the English countryside. An ominously brusque clerk, an apparent lack of other guests, and disturbing sounds from the room above theirs bode a less-than-welcome arrival. Yet all is not what it seems on this increasingly emotional trip into the past for these two women, one of whom has definitely been here before.
Joanna Hogg (“The Souvenir”), among today’s foremost filmmakers, uses this Victorian gothic scenario for an entirely surprising, impeccably crafted, and, finally, overwhelming excavation of a parent-child relationship and the impulse toward artistic creation. And Tilda Swinton, in a performance of rich, endless surprise, turns in one of the most remarkable acting feats in her astonishing career.