On the surface Allure (2017) might appear the perfect film to celebrate Pride, the story of an obsessive relationship between a damaged young woman and her love for a 16-year-old girl, but Allure is a very dark and complex film and to reduce it simply to this would do the film an injustice. Really this is a film about the desire to be loved. Released by Eureka Entertainment, a label better known for releasing classics as well as those in their Masters of Cinema series occasionally they release some interesting international films. This Canadian film has all the potential to become a modern indie classic and boasts one of the best performances from Evan Rachel Wood to date, an actress who has proved herself to be quite diverse.
The plot of Allure has Wood playing Laura, a girl who has been damaged by her upbringing and sexual abuse at the hands of her loving father (Denis O’Hare) who she tries to keep at arms length, although it remains ambiguous in the film as to what way she was abused. This has manifested in her a desire to be in a stable loving relationship which always seems to be unattainable. In an early scene we see a frank sexual scene in which she’s giving hand relief to a one night stand, fakes enjoyment that all of a sudden takes a violent and nasty turn. Laura also works as a house cleaner as well as working for her father in his office.
At a new house she is cleaning, she hears 16-year-old Eva (Julia Sarah Stone) playing the piano. Enchanted by what she hears, the girls chat and get on well. They share stories, with Laura observing that Eva is unhappy at being under her mother’s strict dominance and doesn’t like her boyfriend. Laura suggests that Eva run away with her. She agrees and moves in with Laura. After a while and with the pair becoming closer a physical relationship takes its inevitable course, the pair begin to become obsessed with each other. When the police inquires if Laura knows of Eva’s whereabouts she begins to become scared she is in big trouble. It is unclear and remains deliberately ambiguous as to whether she is faking her concerns or is using this as a tool to control Eva. Laura soon becomes jealous and paranoid with anything Eva does or says. She starts to behave erratically and fall apart, locking her up which sometimes explodes into jealous rage. Eva too starts to become reliant on Laura and begins to live with Stockholm Syndrome.
Although at the core of the film there is a lesbian relationship, the film is really about a need and desire to be loved. Eva is too young to understand what is going on and is somewhat enamoured by Laura, allowing Laura to become her enabler, while Laura herself is in search of a non-abusive and dare I say it normal relationship that she may have found with Eva under different circumstances. The film is saved from being too morose or dark by two powerful performances by the leads.
There are no extras on the disc other than a trailer.