British filmmaker Thomas Clay made an impression on the scene back in the noughties with two controversial films that had began to establish him as a rising star to pay attention to. After strangely going off the radar ever since, he’s returned to the director’s chair with period drama Fanny Lye Deliver’d. Set on an isolated Shropshire farm shortly after the English Civil War, the plot centres around the bleak lives of Fanny (Maxine Peake), her abusive husband John (Charles Dance) and their son Arthur. When young couple Thomas (Freddie Fox) and Rebecca (Tanya Reynolds) arrive unannounced to seek shelter in their barn one night, the Lye’s strict puritan lifestyle is challenge by radical new ideas.
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Writer and director Carol Morley presents a coming-of-age story about teenagers in an all-girls school but one that avoids the expected scenarios of the modern teen movie genre. Setting her tale in the late 1960s, it relies on old-fashioned storytelling methods that are suitably accompanied by beautifully bewitching imagery. The plot centres around Lydia Lamb, a mixed-up girl from a broken home played by Game of Thrones’ starlet Maisie Williams. Always in the shadow of her uber-confident best friend Abbie (Florence Pugh), she yearns to discover herself and where her place is within the disciplined, cliquey society she finds herself in. At home, she is teased by her peculiar older brother Kenneth (Joe Cole) and neglected by her agoraphobic mother Eileen (Maxine Peake), which result in a bout of odd behaviour which strangely begins to spread throughout her classmates.
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