Andrea Riseborough (Luxor, The Electrical Life Of Louis Wain) has to be one
of the best actors performing in film at the moment. Her performances are
always the highlight of any film that she appears in and so that proves in
Stacey Gregg’s Irish drama “Here Before”.
Riseborough plays Laura, a grieving mother who is still struggling to come
to terms with the loss of her young daughter. When new neighbours (Eileen
O’Higgins, Mary Queen of Scots and Martin McCann, Killing Bono) move in
next door Laura becomes obsessed with their young daughter Megan, (Niamh
Dornan) who she believes, after a number of incidents where Megan tells
Laura about experiences that Laura had with her own daughter, that she is
the reincarnation of her daughter.
As Megan’s stories of a past life become more and more detailed and her
mannerisms become more like her dead daughter Laura’s behaviour becomes
more and more erratic - much to the concern of her husband Brendon (Jonjo
O’Neill, The Queen’s Gambit) and her son Tadhg (Lewis McAskie, Belfast).
Gregg builds her story up slowly, long lingering shots of hills, electric
pylons and tress only serve to highlight how light the story is. Even with
its short running time of just over 80 minutes the story feels drawn out
longer than it really needs to be. It’s also not helped by an ending that
comes so quick that it almost feels rushed.
Beautifully filmed and acted Here Before, by the end, is a film that you
just wish had a bit more substance to it.