ELYSE (2020)


 Greetings again from the darkness. We aren’t sure what to make of Elyse Bridges as we are first getting to know her. She seems a bit unstable and unpredictable, and even her husband Steven and her mother are at a loss with how to get along with her. The Bridges live in a beautiful modern mansion, and their live-in help is excellent at helping take care of their son, something Elyse seems to have minimal interest in.

Of course this is a movie, and things aren’t always what they seem. Writer-director Stella Hopkins and co-writer Audrey Arkins keep us guessing for quite a while before revealing the twist. Ms. Hopkins is the wife of Sir Anthony Hopkins, and it’s her directorial debut. Many filmmakers would appreciate having the advantage of a built-in Oscar winner to give their film a shot of prestige, and he does just that, elevating the film with his all-too-brief turn as a psychologist.

Surprisingly, this movie doesn’t belong to Mr. Hopkins, as his role is relatively minor. Instead, it’s Lisa Pepper in the titular role that has us initially grasping at straws, trying to make sense of her behavior. Ms. Pepper only rarely acts in films, as this is her fourth film spread over 13 years. Elyse’s attorney husband Steven is played by Aaron Tucker, whose movie credits come even less frequently than Ms. Pepper’s. This film is a bit of a reunion for Mr. and Mrs. Hopkins, as well as Ms. Pepper and Mr. Tucker, as they all previously appeared together in the 2007 film SLIPSTREAM (written and directed by Sir Anthony).

The pieces finally come together in the third act, and by that time, it’s quite apparent that director Hopkins was attempting to create a stylish psychological drama that keeps the audience guessing. There are a couple of references to “The Wizard of Oz”, including Dorothy’s quote, “If we walk long enough, we will surely come to some place.” Not much more can be said without spoiling the story and what caused the changes within Elyse. Memories are a field of study with many unanswered questions, and the unfortunate path of Elyse is spurred by a single event … something that could happen to any of us. Anthony Hopkins is credited with writing music for the film, and it would have been nice to have him in a few more scenes.

watch the trailer

2 Responses to ELYSE (2020)

  1. montrealray says:

    Some names command at least a consideration and Sir Anthony Hopkins is one of those. I’ve been warned not to expect much presence from the icon Brit, still I will watch it, because I don’t want to regret later not having done so. Glad you wrote the review. Stay safe and have a great week-end David.

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