Watch We Have Always Lived in the Castle
- 1 hr 36 min
In the 2018 movie "We Have Always Lived in the Castle," adapted from Shirley Jackson's eponymous novel, the atmosphere is heavy with mystery and foreboding from the very beginning. The story centres around two sisters, Merricat and Constance Blackwood, who live in seclusion in their ancestral home with their uncle Julian, following a tragic family incident years before. After the death of their parents and younger brother, the townspeople of their small New England village have shunned the remaining members of the Blackwood family. The family's wealth and odd behavior only adds to the distrust and suspicion of the community.
Merricat, brilliantly played by Taissa Farmiga, narrates the movie and introduces us to their peculiar way of living. She is a teenager but seems a bit younger than that, with a whimsical personality akin to a fantasy character - she wears a red Mary Jane shoes and a little green hat adorned by a flower, she talks to her cat, Jonas, and builds protective mounds of earth around the house to keep outsiders away. She's happiest when she is with her sister, Constance, who is played by Alexandra Daddario. Constance is the elder and the caretaker of the home; she cooks, cleans and gardens, while catering to Julian's needs. She has a sweet disposition and a gentle manner that's in contrast with Merricat's impish character, which makes them a great duo.
Their peaceful existence is interrupted by the arrival of their estranged cousin Charles, played by Crispin Glover. His sudden appearance further strains relationships, disrupting the sisters' comfortable routine and drawing suspicions that he has ulterior motives. The atmosphere grows more tense when Julian appears to have moments when he can't remember the truth about the family's past. The sisters become more and more isolated, with the villagers growing more and more hostile towards them. Things reach boiling point when there's a poisoning, and they become suspects in the murder investigation.
The movie is directed by Stacie Passon, who does brilliantly in conveying the gothic and sinister ambiance of the book. The setting and characters' eccentricities make it impossible for the viewer not to feel entertained and intrigued. There's almost a magical realism element to it, with the Blackwood sisters' supernatural sense of protection manifested through their elaborate rituals and customs. The home itself is a character. Its darkness is oppressive and full of secrets, with every room silently screaming its history.
Farmiga's performance is standout, and she effortlessly conveys Merricat's fragile, childlike spirit and eeriness. She is the perfect casting choice for the role. Daddario is a great complement to her, bringing a calm and caring balance to the family's dynamic. Glover is great as well; his performance is sharp and unsettling enough for the viewer to feel uneasy around him.
The film's themes of ostracism, mental illness, and family dynamics imbue the story with powerful emotions that resonate long after the movie ends. It's a film that will leave the viewer contemplating what makes us human and what draws the line between sanity and madness.
Overall, "We Have Always Lived in the Castle" is an eerie and captivating movie that portrays a haunting story in a thought-provoking and imaginative way. It is definitely worth seeing for the cinematography, performances, and the overall vibe that makes it both creepy and fascinating.
We Have Always Lived in the Castle is a 2019 mystery with a runtime of 1 hour and 36 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.6 and a MetaScore of 63.