Eva Green, Juno Temple and María Valverde star in Cracks, an engrossing coming-of-age drama set in a British boarding school for girls in the 1930s. The school seems to be somewhat of a depository for abandoned girls whose parents are either dead or too busy gallivanting around the world to raise them. Resigned to their new home, the girls develop close ties with each other, even going so far as to consider one of their teachers, Miss G (played by Green), sort of a surrogate mother. But Miss G has no intention of being looked upon as an authority figure. Rather, she wants to be friends with the girls. When well-traveled Spanish ingénue Fiamma (Valverde) transfers to the school, she unwittingly causes waves between the girls and their untouchable Miss G, who becomes instantly fixated on the exotic newcomer. Cracks is riveting and atmospheric, with some great performances from Juno Temple and Eva Green. I was surprised at the dark tone of the film, which I had not expected at all. The story was really interesting and one that I don’t believe has been told before in such sweeping fashion.
The film has a brooding ambiance that mirrors the isolation the girls feel as they are trapped in the school. Although they are free to roam about the lush surrounding countryside and participate in excursions amid the picturesque lakes and forests, audiences can sense a cold, wistful feeling of being in a bubble, completely removed from the world. I loved the way the drama of the period married really well with the complicated material. I also thought that there was just enough mystery surrounding the events that occur in the film that sated the audience’s interest without necessarily spelling everything out. It was also a pleasure to see an all-female cast, all of whom performed admirably.
Eva Green, who channeled her inner master manipulator in Starz’s short-lived Camelot, is no stranger to dark and edgy roles. Cracks is no exception. Green is simply captivating as the miserable but magnetic instructor who captures the girls’ attentions and imaginations with her wild stories of adventures in far-off lands and her random outbursts of excitement. Unlike the stuffy instructors at the school, Green’s Miss G dresses in eye-catching outfits and makes an effort to integrate herself as a friend rather than a teacher. I loved her character and the way she was written. The film seduces audiences through Miss G’s charms the same way she lures the girls into her clutches. The story was also extremely well-paced, which made the shocking revelation all the more jarring.
Cracks is a really fascinating film that is deeply unsettling once you’ve finished watching it. Juno Temple impressed in a role that required a lot of nuance and fire, both attributes that the young actress seemed to master quite effortlessly. Eva Green was, as always, enigmatic and alluring, and I love that she chooses roles that are bold and daring. There is plenty to absorb in this film and it certainly leaves a strong impression even after the credits have rolled.