Tilda Swinton plays Julie and Rosalind, a daughter and mother duo vacationing in an old Welsh mansion turned hotel. This hotel either has the worst customer service ever, or maybe that receptionist just typical of British customer service. While serving the duo during dinner, a server steps onto Rosalind’s bag instead of maybe moving the bag like anyone else would do. This isn’t the only purposefully irksome things in both the hotel and the film it belongs to, Joanna Hogg’s The Eternal Daughter. Julie can’t sleep because of what she thinks are banging open windows on the room above her. And late at night, while walking her dog, she keeps looking at a window with the expectation that someone is staring right back.
I still haven’t seen The Souvenir films, although this isn’t her first vacation film. It is quite the interesting pivot from drama to mystery and infusing shades of comedy and horror into this new film. The score’s a bit on the nose, the whole dog scene is unnecessary, and it’s strange to say that Swinton’s monologues don’t feel like they have levels on them, which is a strange thing to write because she has an Oscar. Also, putting a caretaker (Joseph Mydell) as an equal figure doesn’t negate the film’s classist air. As I write those things above though, Hogg is doing a lot of great things here. Even if this film is all fog machine, it’s also a comment on loss and memory and property.