Critics Consensus: This enigmatic debut British/Irish feature is beautifully photographed and has an intriguing premise, marking its makers out as talent to watch.
No Top Critics Tomatometer score yet...
Filmmakers Joe Lawlor and Christine Molloy collaborate on this slow-burning mystery about a young loner named Helen (Annie Townsend), who becomes unexpectedly influenced by the persona of a missing girl after agreeing to assume her identity for a police reconstruction of the crime scene. The more Helen identifies with the girl police are searching for, the smaller the gaps in her own fractured life become.
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Critic Reviews for Helen
You couldn't call this audacious British debut a success; it's too arch, awkward and over-extended for that. But, oddly, it's those very same qualities which make it arresting to watch and which mark out its two directors as talents to keep an eye on.
Its beauty and sadness are simply overwhelming. Anglo-Irish cinema gets a new, fully-formed identity.
Given its harrowing theme, Helen is a beautiful and restrained work. The camera quietly and slowly glides along Helen's world, laying bare the loneliness of a marginalised girl who is longing to find a life of her own.
Helen is an ambitious film, at once gripping and meditative, that touches with intelligence.
Much like an ambitious video-art installation, it's intriguing, inconclusive and not as challenging as it wants to be.
With its unusual blending of the formal and the mysterious, the intimate and the impressionistic, Helen is a film of quiet but deadly power.
A moody British/Irish co-production, Helen is beautifully photographed and blessed with a wistfully atmospheric score, but it's a little bit creaky in some of the performances.
The final sequence, in which the directors boldly refuse any neat tying-up of their story, is bracingly intelligent. Lawlor and Molloy are real talents with a distinctive, if evolving, film-making language of their own.
Molloy and Lawlor's film, arrestingly well-composed and sound-designed, has a woozy suggestiveness that's nothing if not promising.
Mannered and over-contrived, it's a waste of a good idea despite the best efforts of Birkeland, whose elegant framing and rich composition allow the viewer to overlook the sheer joylessness of the piece.
It's an intriguing premise - but this debut feature from short filmmakers Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor never gets up to speed. It feels like a first draft, with some painfully stilted dialogue.
Just as the story grips you it ends, leaving you mystified beyond the call of the enigmatic plot.
It's a neat idea, of one life "standing-in" for another and starting afresh, but badly handled. It's a glum 79 minutes.
It is a plain and simple story which is told so directly and with such a lack of obvious sophistication that it finally triumphs beyond all expectation.
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