“He used to say, sometimes you need to do something bad to stop you from doing something worse.”
– India Stoker
India Stoker (Mia Masikowska) turns eighteen and receives a horrific gift – her father, Richard (Dermot Mulroney), is killed in a violent car accident. Not knowing what to do, she draws into herself even more. She is acutely aware of the senses, and very unhappy when at her father’s wake, his brother, Charlie (Matthew Goode), turns up. Her unstable mother, Evelyn (Nicole Kidman), seems rather taken with his charms and good looks, and it upsets India. However, things get worse when he announces that he is going to be staying with them to look after his brother’s family.
Charlie has many tales of travelling the world, and Evelyn seems very engaged with Charlie. India, on the other hand, does not care much for him. Mrs McGarrick (Phyllis Somerville) argues with Charlie, and soon after the head caretaker disappears. Charlie attempts to befriend India, though she coldly turns him away constantly, and is very unhappy with how intimate he and her mother are getting. Something is wrong with Charlie, India is sure of it, but has no idea what. After a dismally short visit from her great aunt Gwendolyn (Jacki Weaver), who is most definitely not Charlie’s biggest fan, India wants to know more about Charlie, but cannot find her.
India is dealing with her own issues at school, as well as the mockery that she has to abide due to her mother’s seeming romance with her deceased father’s brother. It does not make for a good combination, as India is already not an incredibly popular girl. India digs more and more into Charlie’s history, and makes some rather gruesome discoveries about him of her own. India knows more about Charlie than she should, and his slightly weird and psychopathic tendencies, but she says nothing. After a shared ordeal, however, she seems to start to let her guard down around her uncle and becomes closer with him, though she has become more prone to lashing out.
What will India do with the information that she has on Charlie? Why is he so intent on befriending her? Will India continue to act out to harshly due to the knowledge she bears, or will she find a new way to channel that frustration? Will Charlie and her mother take that final step, and if so, how will India deal with her father’s brother being the new man in her mother’s life?
A 7/10 for Stoker. I am still not one hundred percent sure what it is that I watched with this, but I do know that it kept me watching. Slow paced and definitely odd, it keeps you wondering. It is more the effects and lack of anything sudden that happens that keeps you guessing, and everything looked rather pretty. The dialogue was pretty decent, though I thought Nicole Kidman’s character was really questionable. I mean who jumps for their deceased husband’s brother the moment he walks through the door? Dodgy, I tell you. However, Mia Wasikowska impressed me as India, the introverted and odd girl. The progression of the film was decent, though slow as I have said, but not really dull in any places, or any particular feeling of wanting to hurry it up. You get lulled into the story. I just had to wonder more often than not at the things that were happening – it was superbly odd, and that family has some particular issues. A decent watch and a decent movie, I enjoyed this one quite a bit.