Here Before (2021)
A brilliant depiction of a mothers love. This is subtle, nuanced story-telling, performed with heavyweight gravitas, carried superbly by Andrea Riseborough. When new next door neighbours arrive and the daughter, Megan, of the new family takes a shine to Laura (Riseborough), she does the right thing to help integrate the new family into the community. She invites Megan around for tea.
This may seem odd to some, but in this part of Ireland, it would appear to be entirely normal. Parents first, kids later would be my plan, but hey, what would I know?
We learn that Laura and husband Brendan (Jonjo O'Neill) have lost a daughter around Megan's age and when she appears, all of the maternal love Laura had for her appears to resurface, no longer having her own daughter. Some of the things Megan says makes Laura believe that there is something more to this young girl than meets the eye, suggesting she has a memory of things that should be impossible for her to know.
What follows is a slow, deliberate descent of unrequited maternal love and unresolved grief, with a hint of the unusual. Megan becomes Laura's obsession, to hell with the consequences for both families, convinced that Megan is somehow connected to her deceased daughter.
Well paced and shot, this has lots going for it. The performances by most of the cast are very strong and the plot is immersive, winding and it refuses to give up its main narrative too easily. Personally, I would have liked to have seen this fleshed out a little longer at under an hour and a half as the conclusion seemed satisfyingly surprising yet hurried.