Opening this week in theaters is the out of Sundance horror-drama YOU WON’T BE ALONE starring Noomi Rapace, Anamaria Marinca, Alice Englert, Carloto Cotta, Félix Maritaud and Sara Klimoska. Definitely an arthouse offering, the film starts off thrilling but progresses to a more reflective and social commentary – that is less fright but certainly haunting in its exploration.
“You Won’t Be Alone” is set in 19th century Macedonia (spoken in Macedonian with English subtitles) and tells the story of a young girl who is cursed to serve a witch after her mother makes a bargain not long after she’s born. When the girl is transformed into a witch herself, she uses her powers to explore society – from which she was hidden in her mother’s effort to deceive the elder witch – and seek out humanity’s meaning by transitioning into several human forms throughout the film.
Able to look at lives through various lenses, the witch’s perspectives of misogyny, brutality, alienation, acceptance and community are witnessed – and felt – by the audience.
Director/screenwriter Goran Stolevski presents both eerie and memorable looks into atrocity and civility, enslavement and freedom and offers portraits that have sat with me well beyond my first viewing.
One highlight was when the witch inhabits the body of a young girl and witnesses that life is easier for males “who fit in” when a young boy is mocked by his father as a “pansy” for not doing chores as the father wished. She also witnesses this dynamic of male acceptance/validation via the intimate cheek patting men gave each other as forms of approval and validation.
And the freer, more frivolous life that she experiences as a young girl is significantly interrupted as she ages and turns into a young woman – ultimately becoming an older single woman left joyless and considered less useful without a family of her own. And several of her experiences truly become worse from that point.
I will say, without major spoiling, that she does find something that changes her mind and experience with humanity – culminating in a final face-off with the elder witch who started it all.
Reminiscent of LAMB, with its slower pacing and lack of extreme spook, the film gets its haunts from its dark premise, the tragic actions by many of its human characters, gory sound effects, and the dark and faded yet visually striking cinematography of Matthew Chuang.
I anticipate watching this film again, because I am sure there’s something I missed with one of her last transitions, and encourage anyone viewing to come into this one with an open mind and possibly prepare for a couple of viewings as well.
I rate it 4 out of 5 on the MMTrometer.
YOU WON’T BE ALONE opens in theaters on Friday, April 1.
Until next thought, Thomasena