Staff Review: Pin Cushion
Posted 13 July 2018 about Pin Cushion and Pin Cushion + Q&A.
Our very own Showroom staff member Billy Barnell reviews Deborah Haywood's first full-length feature film, 'Pin Cushion'.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that ‘Pin Cushion’, the new film by British writer/director Deborah
Haywood, was her second or third feature. In fact, it’s her debut. The story of
a mother and daughter who move to the town of Swadlincote, Derbyshire, ‘Pin
Cushion’ is a delightfully idiosyncratic gem of a movie.
The film concerns itself with
mother Lyn (Joanna Scanlan) and daughter Iona (Lily Newmark), who are attempting to
settle into a new home in a new town. Iona goes off to school every day,
leaving eccentric Lyn to fend for herself in the passively hostile world that
is Swadlincote. They have a pet budgie of seventeen years, sleep in the same
bed and call one another “Dafty One” and “Dafty Two”. They seem more like
friends than family and as Iona befriends the popular “Mean Girls” of the
school, her mother begins to feel increasingly isolated, ultimately drawing herself
into a fantasy world of her own devising.
One of the reasons the film
works so well is the excellent performances of the main actresses. Scanlan is
undeniably sympathetic yet alienating as Lyn and she imbues the character with
an impressive physical presence, lending heft to her flatfooted, hunchbacked gait.
Newmark has something of a young Shelly Duvall about her and she radiates more
than a little of the surreal quality that Duvall brought to her roles. Similar
to Sissy Spacek, Newmark’s features are both striking and ever so slightly
bizarre, almost depending on the light. In fact, like Spacek’s ‘Carrie’, the
torment Iona receives from the more conventionally “pretty” girls becomes
believable based on Newmark’s great performance.
Haywood clearly understands how
to get the best out of her cast and crew. One of the movie’s key strengths is
the cinematography by Nicola Daley, who infuses the frame with frosty blues,
velvety reds and dappled golds, giving it a feel reminiscent of Matt Ross’
‘Captain Fantastic’ or Taika Waititi’s ‘Hunt for The Wilderpeople’. 'Pin Cushion' is a bright
and exciting work from a fresh, new voice and should be seen by anyone with
their fingers on the pulse of independent cinema.
See 'Pin Cushion' here from Friday 13th July. We'll be joined by Deborah Haywood and Joanna Scanlan for a special screening + Q&A on Sunday 15th July!