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Home Reviews Cinema reviews Film Review: Lore - Keeping Up Appearances
Film Review: Lore - Keeping Up Appearances Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Sunday, 24 February 2013 08:44

Lore - Keeping Up Appearances 

'Bouquet', darling. It's pronounced 'Bouquet'."

That was Hyacinth Bucket, back in 1995, a snob so concerned with keeping up appearances that she changed her surname and refused to associate with the dirt next door. It's a similar attitude that Cate Shortland captures in Lore. The tale of a daughter of an SS officer growing up in the fallout of WWII, it's a moving exploration of identity and reputation that's more unsetlling than the state of the geraniums in Hyacinth's next door neighbour's garden.

Near the start of the film, Lore walks in on her mum being raped by a soldier. No one does anything. The man says nothing and just calmly straightens his uniform. That same struggle to remain respectable is instilled into Saskia Rosendahl's uprooted teen. She hates Jews, she still believes in her dad, she orders her younger brother and sister to behave. She's a young Nazi Patricia Routledge in a BBC TV show that never got commissioned. 

The astonishing Rosendahl nails the confused pride of an orphaned child with a stern fragility, determined to stay tight-lipped no matter what horror she encounters. That, coupled with the bleak cinematography and the eery disarray of the production design, gives Lore a raw, intimate edge often missing from war movies. Over the 109 minutes, she gradually begins to grasp the wider truth that always eluded Hyacinth week in and week out. After all, she only had to worry about the geraniums. 




Pathos and prejudice combine to make a heartfelt story of one girl forming an identity, trying to keep up appearances - just as the nation around her falls apart. 


Lore is out in UK cinemas now and available to rent online via Curzon On-Demand. It's highly recommended. (Read our full review of Lore from the London Film Festival.)