- 2 hr
Puffball is a British supernatural drama film from 2007, directed by Nicolas Roeg and adapted by him from the Fay Weldon novel of the same name. The film follows a young architect named Liffey, played by Kelly Reilly, who moves to a remote Irish village with her husband to oversee the restoration of an old home. Once there, she becomes entangled in a web of secrets, superstitions, and sexual rituals that threaten to consume her.
The film opens with Liffey and her husband Richard, played by William Houston, on their way to the village of Cloonoila in County Galway. Upon arrival, they are greeted by the locals with equal parts curiosity and suspicion. Liffey is quickly drawn to a piece of land on the outskirts of town, where she plans to build her dream home. However, the old woman who owns the land, played by the legendary actress Rita Tushingham, is reluctant to sell, warning Liffey of the supernatural forces that surround it.
As Liffey begins work on the house, she becomes increasingly isolated from her husband, who spends most of his time in the city for work. She finds solace in her relationship with Molly, a local midwife played by Miranda Richardson. Molly is warm and welcoming, but also intensely interested in Liffey's pregnancy, which she believes will carry special powers. As Liffey becomes further entrenched in the village's pagan rituals, she begins to have vivid, surreal dreams involving a mysterious androgynous figure played by Donald Sutherland.
The film's plot is slow-paced and contemplative, with a sense of foreboding that builds throughout. The town is shrouded in supernatural lore, with talk of fairies, curses, and the powerful magic of the land. Throughout the film, the audience is left questioning what is real and what is simply the result of the villagers' superstitions. Roeg's direction is stylish and visually striking, with stunning landscapes and dreamlike sequences that perfectly capture the film's magical realism.
The characters in Puffball are complex and nuanced, with each carrying their own secrets and desires. Kelly Reilly gives a powerful performance as Liffey, a woman struggling to reconcile her rational worldview with the inexplicable events happening around her. Miranda Richardson also shines as Molly, a character who is both maternal and manipulative. The supporting cast, including the always-excellent Rita Tushingham, add even more depth to the film.
Overall, Puffball is a haunting film that explores themes of sexuality, motherhood, and the supernatural. Its slow pace and ambiguous narrative may not be for everyone, but those willing to invest in the film's world will be rewarded with a rich and visually stunning experience. It may not be Roeg's best work, but it's still an impressive addition to his oeuvre.
Puffball is a 2007 thriller with a runtime of 2 hours. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 4.3.