The Woman In Black: Movie Review

The Woman In Black: Movie Review

Posted by on May 29, 2012 in Random, Rant And Ramble | 8 comments

The Woman in Black Poster

I spent a lot of my time off last week watching movies. Since movies have been a passion of mine for far longer than anything else, it was a much loved way to spend my evenings. I continued my evening movie trend last night with The Woman In Black. This is the first post-potter film I’ve seen from Radcliffe and I’m fairy certain it is his first post-potter release. Either way I was left impressed and disappointed all at once.

I thought it would be strange to see Radcliffe in another role, but it actually wasn’t. Perhaps this is because he is a talented young actor with a bright future. However, I was disappointed that of all the roles he decided to take on, this was his first post-potter choice. Don’t get me wrong, I think after spending a decade filming the largest book to movie franchise he was due for something new. I actually expected it to be something unnaturally extreme. I thought he’d take a role playing a badass of sorts. A drug addict perhaps? In other words; I thought he’d take on the polar opposite of Harry Potter in order to show he has range and sustainability. Although Radcliffe did a good job in The Woman In Black, there wasn’t much to it.

With TWIB, they’ve managed to create a foundation of mystique around the hidden secrets of this small town, and the creep factor was high. My wife spent the entire movie clinging to my arm. For me – someone who rarely jumps from something popping out of the shadows – there were a few moments that even I received a chill. A shudder of terror that made me wonder just what I was looking at. Shadows, or something more?

This film was very well done. They instilled fear in me without gore or massive special effects. Instead, they opted for a classic approach; creaks in the floor, chairs that rocks on their own, the shadows that move (or do they?), creepy children’s toys, and the foggy hand print in the window. There were more than a few moments of the spine tingling variety. In this sense, they did a very good job.

Now I’m not one to criticize films or talk about the director’s approach to a scene of light versus dark, etc. I’m not educated in things and as such, I don’t talk about them. However, I watch a lot of movies and I can talk about what disappointed me as strictly a viewer.

My issue with this film came in a few different streams. There is virtually no dialogue in this film. Now granted, I really enjoyed the movie and I didn’t realize this until the end, but once the movie was over I realized Radcliffe hardly talks at all. His post-potter role consists of him lurking around a house and spending more time fiddling with things than actually looking at paperwork (the reason he is there in the first place). I guess after seeing the movie and having reflected on it for a short time, I expected something more in your face. This is a very passive role and I think for the talent that Radcliffe has, he could’ve selected something more powerful. Then again, perhaps he was going for subtlety, in which case, he succeeded. The core of this film was very well done but my major disappointment comes with the end. I know I’m not the only one who feels this way since I had been somewhat warned about it by multiple people, but when it came, I was still surprised.



***Major Spoilers Ahead***



I don’t have a problem with the ghost or antagonist “winning,” in the end. In fact, although somewhat disheartening, it seemed suiting for Radcliffe’s character. What bothers me is what happens after; the woman in white. The woman he loved, lost, and continued to dream about appears and silently lays claim to him, welcoming him to the other side. This is of course, suiting, given the premise of the story, but it just didn’t sit right with me. All the children who died were left roaming with the woman in black, but not his son, nor he. Was it because he sacrificed himself in a failed attempt to save his son? Is that why the boy and his father were saved from the eternal wrath of the woman in black? If that’s the case, that seems a little to Harry Potterish; the love of a parent saves the child. Maybe it was the spirit of his wife – the woman in white – who saved them from her. I don’t know. Either way, it didn’t sit well with me. I’d have much rather seen them get hit by the train and have the credits roll, but that last 45 seconds when they walk off into the foggy distance together, once again reunited as a happy, loving family (of ghosts), just rubbed me the wrong way. A failed attempt at an unhappily happy ending perhaps?


***End Of Spoiler***

Overall, I really enjoyed the film. I had hoped to see something more extreme from Radcliffe but he has chosen a subtle approach as opposed to the most obvious – and probably most anticipated – extreme one. I can respect that and in fact, I think it might be better for his career. 
The Woman in Black was a dark film with a high creep factor. With little dialogue they manage to weave an intricate tale that I found myself wrapped up in. As I said before, I didn’t even notice the lack of dialogue until the movie was over and I was left pondering. The downside of the film, besides my dislike of the last few moments, was the lack of answers. I would have enjoyed discovering what exactly it would take to finish what was started, but I get the feeling the answer is nothing. Never means never, right? 
Some films leave you with many questions but leave you satisfied, they handle it well, while others don’t quite cut it. I don’t think The Woman In Black did it poorly, but I wasn’t left completely satisfied either. All that being said, I still recommend it and I’ll probably watch it again .Who knows, maybe I missed something the first time around. 
If you enjoy a good thrill, The Woman In Black is definitely worth watching. However, if you’re someone who likes to see sunshine and rainbows at the end of a film, or receive closure on everything that has happened, than I’m not entirely sure you will enjoy that aspect of this movie. All in all, although I’ve spent much of this post saying what I disliked, this movie gave me chills. It was well done, the hour and forty five minutes flew by, and even with my disappointments, I very much enjoyed it. I look forward to seeing what Radcliffe does next. 

    8 Comments

  1. Ah, great review! I agree about the ending, it was a bit odd, off, strange?? The part about lack of dialogue…I wonder if Radcliffe chose this strategically. Perhaps the lack of voice makes for a better transition from being Harry Potter. Just speculation on my part, of course. I do think it helped me to not think of him as Harry.

  2. You know what, I think you're absolutely right. Had Radcliffe taken the role I expected (something, anything extreme), it would be from one side of the fence to the other. It would, without a doubt, be hard to watch and even harder to believe, seeing Harry Potter spiral down from a happy, healthy life into drug addiction, or something equally extreme.

    After reading your comment, I'm convinced he's taken the right approach. Starting with an easily forgettable character, perhaps he'll continue on this path, easing us out of Pottermania into one role after another of small, not so over the top characters until the world finally accepts him as more than Harry Potter? Then maybe he'll start to take on the more adventurous roles.

    • I hope this is the case. I think him fully capable of grittier roles and hope he stays relevant enough to continue to make baby steps towards such roles.

  3. I've been wanting to see this movie, but haven't as yet. I agree that Radcliffe is extremely talented, and I've been hoping his HP role won't pigeon hole him into not being able to find other roles. He's tried plays (with success) and it's nice to see them giving him a shot in other films. I think the best performance of his life is still ahead. This film does look creepy and full of pulse quickening jumps, but hmm, lack of dialogue does sometimes bother me. I still plan to give it a try based on the favorable things you've had to say. I love movies that make me jump!

    • If you love movies that will make you jump, I think The Woman In Black is a safe bet.

      He has had success with plays and I am happy to see that he is being given opportunity on other project. The lack of dialogue isn't that noticeable, although it might be now that I mentioned it LOL.

      I think you're right though; Daniel Radcliffe's best performance is still on it's way.

  4. Great review. Funny, my husband and I watched this last night, also. I was left with similar feelings. I hadn't noticed the lack of dialogue but now that you mention it, hmmm.

    There was a point in the movie, and I'm sure you'll know which one, where I screamed, sending my dog and cat hightailing it off the sofa and out of the room.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about it.
    Regan

  5. I haven't seen this movie yet and was entirely sure I wanted to, it sounds interesting, but that ending really does sound like a bummer. I prefer these ghost like creepy movies to end more like Skeleton Key and The Others. A nice twist that you might have guessed but couldn't believe it till it was revealed. I like it to make some sense to. I will eventually check it out either way to see for myself, but that ending doesn't give me high hopes on being satisfied.

  6. Great post!! I just watched this last week and I thought it was pretty creepy and good, but not as good as I was hoping it would be. I agree with the end. I don't really know what to think of it.

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