the turning review tim winton – Fisted Trickery Saps A Classic Ghost Story

As for Flora (a winning Brooklynn Prince from “The Florida Project”), she never leaves the property and has no friends. Quickly though, she discovers that both the children and the house are harboring dark secrets and things may not be as they appear.

the turning review – ‘The Turning’ Less About Answers, More About Gothic Horror To Savor

The TurningThe Turning seemed headed for doom for a while. Kate Mandell (Mackenzie Davis) has accepted a position as a live-in caregiver for the Fairchilds, a job which requires her to leave her mentally-ill artist mother (Joely Richardson) and relocate to the wealthy family’s sprawling estate. Once she arrives, she’s greeted by the housekeeper, Mrs. Grose (Barbara Marten) and the youngest child, Flora (The Florida Project‘s Brooklynn Prince). The parents are absent. The elderly woman seems cagey about the fate of Kate’s predecessor. The girl, meanwhile, couldn’t be cuter.


If you’ve ever read Henry James’ 1898 novella The Turn of the Screw, it was likely due to a school assignment. That’s how actress Mackenzie Davis ( Terminator: Dark Fate , Black Mirror ) first encountered the classic horror story; in her case, it was during a college course. It’s the kind of literature teachers and professors love to pick apart for its flexible, contemplative narrative and, above all else, its application of the unreliable narrator. Its latest film adaptation, The Turning , in which Davis stars as the narrator, continues those trends.

For more than 100 years, a deeply haunting tale has been passed down to terrify audiences. DreamWorks Pictures’ The Turning takes us to a mysterious estate in the Maine countryside, where newly appointed nanny Kate is charged with the care of two disturbed orphans, Flora and Miles. Quickly though, she discovers that both the children and the house are harboring dark secrets and things may not be as they appear. Inspired by Henry James’ landmark novel, the haunted-house thriller is directed by renowned visualist Floria Sigismondi and stars Mackenzie Davis, Finn Wolfhard, newcomer Brooklynn Prince and Joely Richardson. From writers Chad Hayes & Carey W. Hayes, The Turning is produced by Scott Bernstein and Roy Lee.

Jack is a high school senior who needs to save money for college and as such, has accepted a summer position as a babysitter. He is to take care of two orphaned children, Miles and Flora, at the only house on an isolated island where the two children live with a housekeeper. Jack has been hired by the children’s uncle who does not want to not be bothered by any news about them. The uncle also doesn’t allow internet, TV or phone, in order to protect the children from the corrupting influences of modern society and culture.” So Jack’s only means of communications with the outside world are his letters to his girlfriend Sophie and his father. Those letters are the narrative mode of this epistolary novel.

Meanwhile, Henry James’ classic novel comes to life in “The Turning,” in which Mackenzie Davis plays a governess whose world suddenly comes crashing down in a mysterious estate in the Maine countryside. There is no saying the ghostly woman’s name to release Flora from her. Instead, the children seem to part company with Kate late in the film. This is different from the suggestion in the novel.

So many Stephen King adaptations have come out in the past few years, including Doctor Sleep , Pet Sematary , and Castle Rock Of all these stories, It might be King’s most iconic work, aside from maybe The Shining But when it comes to Finn Wolfhard movies, it’s hard to compete with an all-time classic killer clown caper.


Another problem that arises in The Turning” is one that is common in the genre: These characters apparently exist in a world in which there are no ghost stories and no movies about haunted houses. That clearly must be the case, because Sigismondi has literally used a cut-and-paste technique, plucking clever gimmicks and shots from classics of the genre and recycling them here. Creepy mannequin? Check. Rattling doorknob? Check. Shaking bedframe? Check. Creepy old mirrors? Check. Let me be clear, though: This is by no means cinematic plagiarism. It’s somewhere between affectionate homage and creative appropriation.

Brandishing a streamlined title, The Turning is an adaptation of Henry James’s bellwether 1898 gothic ghost story novella Turn of the Screw. The story – written in the form of a manuscript – depicts the ordeal of a never-named young governess who is hired to care for young children Miles and Flora in the confines of a creepy country estate in Essex. However, a duo of ghosts, consisting of previous governess Miss Jessel and estate employee (and Jessel’s lover,) Peter Quint, make their presence known and perniciously possess the children, with whom the couple were close when still alive.

She’s also helped by a haunted turn from Mackenzie Davis, who is kept busy creeping through dark hallways and trying to figure out what’s really going on in the much like the original tome, adapted this time by Conjuring writers Chad and Carey Hayes, it’s all about keeping the audience guessing as much as Davis’ grunge-loving character (the 1994 period and Ireland-for-Seattle location setting means there are lots of get-out clauses for why Kate doesn’t dig deeper into the family history — no mobile phone, no Google etc).

Interestingly, this particular Turn of the Screw adaptation, a film from director Floria Sigismondi, will brandish the surging star power of Mackenzie Davis, star of Terminator: Dark Fate , and Finn Wolfhard, one of the primary stars of Netflix’s smash hit series, Stranger Things , and the It films, which released its conclusion, It: Chapter Two , this past September.

SIGISMONDI: I didn’t want to spoon-feed the audience. I was hoping that people can take away different things from the movie. To generate dialogue is what excites me. When I go see a film, and I’ve got something to say or a question, or it opens up something new in me… That’s what excites me about cinema, rather than being spoon-fed with a nice little bow at the end.

Synopsis: The Turning takes us to a mysterious estate in the Maine countryside, where newly appointed nanny Kate is charged with the care of two disturbed orphans, Flora and Miles. Quickly though, she discovers that both the children and the house are harboring dark secrets and things may not be as they appear.

To understand what’s going on in The Turning, you’ve gotta look back at The Turn of the Screw, James’ 1898 horror novella that tells the story of a young governess who takes a position at a giant mansion that houses a housekeeper, an orphaned little girl, and her brother who is away at boarding school for part of the story. While living in the house, the governess starts seeing things, which she realizes must be the ghosts of people who used to live there. Coincidentally, the governess before her had a relationship with a former employee of the mansion, and before their deaths they spent a long time with each other and with both of the children. Spiraling, the governess starts to believe that the spirits of her predecessor and the mysterious man are haunting the house, possessing the children in order to continue their relationship.

I mention it reads as a manga for the language used, Japanese authors tend to write characters to be a tad more dramatic, they speak in a suspicious and indirect way, a tone similar to: ‘”he” is arriving’, ‘this is “his” choice’, the awe felt through the revelations,the persecutions and in general dynamic narration. I love this book, I am not sure if I could recommend it though, I have a fascination with 19th century British literature, a fascination that few share. If you like that period as me then “The Turn of the Screw” is amazing. Without this story maybe the cinema genre of ghosts would not exist as we know it.

With The Turning, Carey Hayes and Chad W. Hayes’ script arbitrarily pulls James’ Victorian chiller kicking and screaming into the grungy ’90s. The film stars Mackenzie Davis as Kate, a punky schoolteacher who’s just taken the job as live-in tutor to a couple of rich orphans. Oddly, although Kate seems to live in New England, her charges reside in what looks like a Royal palace; an extraordinary old estate complete with watchful griffins, dusty oil paintings of 18th-century relatives, and a forbidding hedge maze. It’s strange, alright – but not quite as strange as the watery apparitions who keep showing up in bathroom mirrors, or the disembodied hand intent on giving Kate an over-friendly hello.

Perhaps the biggest failing of the film is that the audience has no incentive to empathize with any of the characters. Kate never emerges as a either a credible guardian of the young girl or as a tragic hero confronting an invisible enemy. Flora seems far too mischievous, like a naughty imp parading as a little girl. Miles is a spoiled brat on the road to becoming a rowdy frat boy.

Last night, The Gentlemen, which is a throwback to Ritchie’s gritty Brit shoot-’em-ups, made $725K at 1,885 theaters, in line with other guy-centric action pics like Warner Bros.’ Russell Crowe-Ryan Gosling ’70s romp The Nice Guys, which posted $700K on its preview night in 2016 and opened to $11.2M. Gentlemen is booked at 2,165 sites. The pic stars Matthew McConaughey, Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant, Michelle Dockery, Jeremy Strong, Colin Farrell, Henry Golding and others in a story about a British drug lord who tries to sell his empire off to Oklahoma billionaires.

Jack is a teenager hired to babysit two children for the summer on a remote island with no phones or television. Thus, to communicate with his father and girlfriend back home, he has to rely on writing letters. The epistolary format kept the book interesting, though I think it compromised some of the character depth.


The story is told entirely through a series of letters, mostly written by Jack to his girlfriend Sophie and his father. The two occasionally respond back. The letters give the reader a first person point of view into Jack’s mind. The more letters he writes, the more we see his paranoia develop over his fear of Sophie betraying him with another boy. The crazy stories he tells her about seeing ghosts, makes her begin to fear he is going insane. This was an interesting concept that unfortunately failed to work here in my opinion. Due to the length of most of the letters, I often forgot that that is what I was reading. The letters were filled with dialogue that took place on the island, and would have been impossible for Jack to remember with such detail. I think the story should have been told in first person, and interspersed with the letters.

In the following interview with filmmaker Floria Sigismondi, she discusses adapting Henry James’ novella, setting her adaptation in the 1990s, and the meaning behind the film’s ambiguity. For the full interview, read below. No, not since the 1800s,” replies Kate (Mackenzie Davis), the teacher who has agreed to tutor the orphaned 7-year-old girl, Flora (Brooklynn Prince), who lives there.

There’s a new movie version of Henry James’ memorable 1898 novel, The Turn of the Screw.” While the movie, The Turning,” doesn’t follow the James story in every detail, viewers may wonder if it isn’t too close to the original in its ambiguity.

Henry James’ seminal novella, The Turn of the Screw, has been adapted countless times since its initial publication in 1898. The novella’s ambiguity lends itself to multiple interpretations – be it for stage, television, or film (perhaps most notably in 1961’s The Innocents). It’s a deceptively simple story – a governess, tasked to care for two orphaned children, discovers they may be haunted by malevolent spirits… Yet within this seemingly run-of-the-mill ghost story, James and subsequent adaptors have instilled the piece with commentaries on sexual repression, male toxicity, and women’s limited roles in the 19th century.

While this is all pretty standard ghost-story stuff in 2020, there’s nothing remotely offensive about it, and you’d be hard-pressed to condemn The Turning’s performances. Davis, as always, brings a luminous naturalism and empathy to the proceedings, and she’s completely matched in that regard by Prince, who’s so irrepressibly, comically buoyant and unpredictable early on that traditional Gothic thrills seem less unlikely than impossible. (Prince has an incredibly rare pre-teen gift for making all of her scripted dialogue sound unrehearsed.) Marten is effectively inscrutable and spooky; Richardson is raw and unrecognizable; Wolfhard, though in danger of seeming over-exposed (he’s also a lead in the forthcoming Ghostbusters reboot), plays messed-up-horny-teen to the subdued hilt. Director Sigismondi, meanwhile, does particularly fine work with her images of the ephemeral undead, which tend to appear and disappear like smoke from a pipe.The Turning

According to Leithauser, the reader is meant to entertain both the proposition that the governess is mad and the proposition that the ghosts really do exist, and consider the dreadful implications of each. There is no such softness in The Turning. Finn Wolfhard’s too busy coughing up nightmare spiders to go swimming with The Losers Club. The Turning is far less relenting in its horror than Wolfhard’s other work.

The house is very foreboding, sitting up on a hill and painted all black, it is referred to as The Dark House. It is filled with many twisting and confusing hallways. When Jack meets Linda, she is friendly and welcoming. The children, Miles and his younger sister Flora, are a bit on the strange side, often exchanging secretive glances almost like they have their own special language.

As the story progresses, Jack starts to see things, people looking in at windows, and the ghosts of two people who used to be caretakers at the house but suffered tragic deaths. He swears the ghosts are the people he saw playing cards on the ferry. No one else sees these apparitions, and the reader begins to wonder if Jack is loosing his sanity.

After reading a book, I’m not sure if this is a ghost story or a “hallucination” thingy book. Director Jan DeBont (“Twister”) reimagines Shirley Jackson’s classic ghost story “The Haunting of Hill House” for a new generation. A young governess is hired by a man who has become responsible for his young nephew and niece after the deaths of their parents. A modern take on Henry James’ novella “The Turn of the Screw”.

The Turning is going to frustrate you. There’s been plenty of debate already amongst the privileged few (we critics) who got to see it early over whether or not Floria Sigismondi’s adaptation of Henry James’ gothic ghost story sticks the original novella’s purposefully ambiguous ending, but one thing’s for sure: It’s definitely ambiguous. Whether or not it works, that ambiguity is the whole point of the story.

For those who don’t know, The Turning also has literary roots. The movie is an adaptation of The Turn Of The Screw, a novella written by Henry James. The story was published in 1898 and has since been adapted many times in many forms. It has been turned into films, TV movies, and even a 1954 opera. The story has gone through so many iterations because the horror continues to resonate with audiences of all generations.

At the beginning of the book we have Jack writing letters to his girlfriend Sophie. The thing is, the entire book is written in letter form, but it just doesn’t work. If I were to write a letter to a friend after something had happened that would be one thing, but the letters seem to be past and present in one letter. You can argue that Jack stopped and started up again within the same letter. It just doesn’t seem to be written very well. Along with the letters, Jack becomes increasingly irritated that Sophie isn’t writing to him fast enough. The boat only stops at the island once a week. I’m not sure how many letters Jack expects during that time. Jack technically is on the island for two months which is 8 weeks. In that time Jack writes to Sophie 16 times where as Sophie writes Jack 7 times (1 letter per week). Jack is on the island for almost exactly 8 weeks. I guess the irritation is a symptom of his delusions. The letters become increasingly more hostile and paranoid.

So Kate journeys out to the middle of nowhere to the gothic pile where little Flora lives with no one else except the sinister housekeeper, Mrs. Grose (Barbara Marten: Oranges and Sunshine ), since her parents died… a violent tragedy the kid witnessed. Then her older brother, Miles (Finn Wolfhard: It: Chapter Two , Dog Days ), comes home after getting kicked out of his boarding school, and he’s a total teenage creep who says and does things not only wildly inappropriate to Kate but perhaps edging on psychopathy.

NEW YORK (CNS) — Over the years, Henry James’ classic 1898 novella-length horror story The Turn of the Screw” has proved fertile soil for movie adaptations. Of the numerous big-screen takes, 1961’s The Innocents” is probably the most distinguished.

Kate Mandell (Mackenzie Davis) has accepted a position as a live-in caregiver for the Fairchilds, a job which requires her to leave her mentally-ill artist mother (Joely Richardson) and relocate to the wealthy family’s sprawling estate. Once she arrives, she’s greeted by the housekeeper, Mrs. Grose (Barbara Marten) and the youngest child, Flora (The Florida Project‘s Brooklynn Prince). The parents are absent. The elderly woman seems cagey about the fate of Kate’s predecessor. The girl, meanwhile, couldn’t be cuter.

For more than 100 years, a deeply haunting tale has been passed down to terrify audiences. Next January, DreamWorks Pictures’ The Turning takes us to a mysterious estate in the Maine countryside, where newly appointed nanny Kate is charged with the care of two disturbed orphans, Flora and Miles. Quickly though, she discovers that both the children and the house are harboring dark secrets and things may not be as they appear.

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