Pin Cushion

Critics Consensus

Pin Cushion explores the prickly dynamics of mother-daughter relationships and female friendships, led by striking work from leads Lily Newmark and Joanna Scanlan.



Total Count: 38


Audience Score

User Ratings: 115
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Movie Info

Super close Mother LYN and daughter IONA (Dafty One and Dafty Two) are excited for their new life in a new town. Determined to make a success of things after a tricky start, Iona becomes 'best friends' with KEELY, STACEY and CHELSEA. Used to being Iona's bestie herself, Lyn feels left out. So Lyn also makes friends with BELINDA, her neighbour. As much as Lyn and Iona pretend to each other that things are going great, things aren't going great for either of them. Iona struggles with the girls, who act more like frenemies than friends, and Belinda won't give Lyn her stepladders back. Both Mother and Daughter retreat into fantasy and lies.


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Critic Reviews for Pin Cushion

All Critics (38) | Top Critics (10) | Fresh (34) | Rotten (4)

  • Writer-director Deborah Haywood makes her feature directorial debut with the surreal and whimsical mother-daughter nightmare Pin Cushion, driven by a singular vision and masterful control of a unique tone, which tiptoes the line of beauty and terror.

    Jul 20, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Haywood's formidable first feature is at once a ruthless dissection of cruelty, capturing the relentless torment of outcasts for the pleasure of self-styled superiors, and a warm evocation of an interdependent mother-daughter bond.

    Jul 19, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Haywood digs into her own teenage memories and unearths something eccentric, tragic and utterly unclassifiable.

    Jul 19, 2018 | Full Review…
  • It's not always an easy watch but it's a sensitive, assured film with characters you'll warm to and root for.

    Jul 18, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    Anna Smith

    Time Out
    Top Critic
  • A quiet and weird story, beautifully executed by Haywood.

    Jul 13, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
  • While the mother-daughter relationship is touchingly played...the malevolence of their totally overegged and the finale is so bleak and garish that it derails the film completely.

    Jul 12, 2018 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

    Ed Potton

    Times (UK)
    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Pin Cushion

  • Aug 26, 2018
    It's a cruel, cruel world for kids. There are a lot of harsh truths that you never see coming, and, depending on your class status and family, they can be drastically more difficult to deal with. That's probably why Lady Bird hit so hard a year ago because intrinsic to its standard coming-of-age plot line was a subtler undercurrent of socio-economic struggle. Where many of these types of films focus almost exclusively on the protagonist's emotional state, Lady Bird and now Deborah Haywood's Pin Cushion have quite a lot to do with the mechanisms that surround the elucidation of adulthood. Starting life fresh in a new town, Lyn (Joanna Scanlan) and her teen daughter Iona (Lily Newmark) are eccentric and in sync with each other, but the insular and catty nature of their new home drives them apart in spite of themselves. Their naive and passive proclivities give them away to the most callous inhabitants of their community, and they fall prey to an almost hyperbolic series of bullyings. This thing gets dark then darker. If I were forced to provide a point of reference for the sense of unsettling dread that permeates this movie I would immediately say Hereditary. Yet somehow Pin Cushion seems more sincere than that critically acclaimed darling of a film because however absolutely bizarre Lyn and Iona act, there isn't some silly satanic cop-out. They really are struggling with not only sanity but the absurdly vindictive society that they isolated themselves from until it was too late for them to be able to deal with it. Much of the film focuses on Iona's experiences as she traverses her school's small social sphere like any film of this particular genre. But when she tries to fit in, she is subjected to passive aggressive agony all the way to outright slanderous hatred. That "small victory" sense of triumph characteristic of other similar set films is rarely seen. Instead we are treated to the darkest humor riddled with gorgeously shot fantasy sequences of how she would wish her life to be, so the highs are high enough that the lows are absolutely devastating. It's equal parts hilarious, depressing, and thoughtful, and it's a film that makes you want to be nicer to people.
    K Nife C Super Reviewer

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